Purpose: To retrospectively compare the efficacy and toxicity of full-dose gemcitabine based chemoradiotherapy (GemRT) versus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) based chemoradiotherapy (5FURT) for locally advanced pancreas cancer (LAPC). Methods: From January 1998 to December 2008, 93 patients with LAPC were treated either with 5FURT (n = 38) or GemRT (n = 55). 5FURT consisted of standard-field radiotherapy given concurrently with infusional 5-FU or capecitabine. GemRT consisted of involved-field radiotherapy given concurrently with full-dose gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2 weekly) with or without erlotinib. The follow-up time was calculated from the time of diagnosis to the date of death or last contact. Results: Patient characteristics were not significantly different between treatment groups. The overall survival (OS) was significantly better for GemRT compared to 5FURT (median 12.5 months versus 10.2 months; 51% versus 34% at 1 year; 12% versus 0% at 3 years; 7% versus 0% at 5 years, respectively; all P = 0.04). The OS benefit of GemRT was maintained on subset analysis without concurrent erlotinib or with sequential gemcitabine (all P < 0.05). The rates of distant metastasis, subsequent hospitalization, acute and late grade 3-5 gastrointestinal toxicities were not significantly different between the GemRT and 5FURT groups. Conclusions: GemRT was associated with an improved OS compared to standard 5FURT. This approach yielded long-term survivors and was not associated with increased hospitalization or severe gastrointestinal toxicity.
- Locally advanced pancreas cancer