Magnetic Resonance Guided Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, Advantages, Challenges, Current Approaches, and Future Directions

William A. Hall, Christina Small, Eric Paulson, Eugene J. Koay, Christopher Crane, Martijn Intven, Lois A. Daamen, Gert J. Meijer, Hanne D. Heerkens, Michael Bassetti, Stephen A. Rosenberg, Katharine Aitken, Sten Myrehaug, Laura A. Dawson, Percy Lee, Cihan Gani, Michael David Chuong, Parag J. Parikh, Beth A. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAC) has some of the worst treatment outcomes for any solid tumor. PAC creates substantial difficulty for effective treatment with traditional RT delivery strategies primarily secondary to its location and limited visualization using CT. Several of these challenges are uniquely addressed with MR-guided RT. We sought to summarize and place into context the currently available literature on MR-guided RT specifically for PAC. Methods: A literature search was conducted to identify manuscript publications since September 2014 that specifically used MR-guided RT for the treatment of PAC. Clinical outcomes of these series are summarized, discussed, and placed into the context of the existing pancreatic literature. Multiple international experts were involved to optimally contextualize these publications. Results: Over 300 manuscripts were reviewed. A total of 6 clinical outcomes publications were identified that have treated patients with PAC using MR guidance. Successes, challenges, and future directions for this technology are evident in these publications. MR-guided RT holds theoretical promise for the treatment of patients with PAC. As with any new technology, immediate or dramatic clinical improvements associated with its use will take time and experience. There remain no prospective trials, currently publications are limited to small retrospective experiences. The current level of evidence for MR guidance in PAC is low and requires significant expansion. Future directions and ongoing studies that are currently open and accruing are identified and reviewed. Conclusions: The potential promise of MR-guided RT for PAC is highlighted, the challenges associated with this novel therapeutic intervention are also reviewed. Outcomes are very early, and will require continued and long term follow up. MR-guided RT should not be viewed in the same fashion as a novel chemotherapeutic agent for which dosing, administration, and toxicity has been established in earlier phase studies. Instead, it should be viewed as a novel procedural intervention which must be robustly tested, refined and practiced before definitive conclusions on the potential benefits or detriments can be determined. The future of MR-guided RT for PAC is highly promising and the potential implications on PAC are substantial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number628155
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - May 11 2021


  • MR-guided RT
  • MR-guided radiation therapy
  • MRI guidance
  • pancreatic cancer
  • pancreatic cancer and radiation therapy
  • pancreatic image–guided RT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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