Stereotactic Versus Conventional Radiation Therapy for Patients With Pancreatic Cancer in the Modern Era

Joseph Abi Jaoude, Connor P. Thunshelle, Ramez Kouzy, Nicholas D. Nguyen, Daniel Lin, Laura Prakash, Isabela M. Bumanlag, Sonal S. Noticewala, Joshua S. Niedzielski, Sam Beddar, Ethan B. Ludmir, Emma B. Holliday, Prajnan Das, Bruce D. Minsky, Joseph M. Herman, Matthew Katz, Albert C. Koong, Eugene J. Koay, Cullen M. Taniguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Patients with pancreatic cancer often receive radiation therapy before undergoing surgical resection. We compared the clinical outcomes differences between stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and 3-dimensional (3D)/intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Methods and Materials: We retrospectively collected data from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Patients with borderline resectable/potentially resectable or locally advanced pancreatic cancer receiving neoadjuvant SBRT (median, 36.0 Gy/5fx), 3D conformal radiation (median, 50.4 Gy/28 fx) or IMRT (median, 50.4 Gy/28 fx) were included. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival were analyzed using Cox regression. Results: In total, 104 patients were included in our study. Fifty-seven patients (54.8%) were treated with SBRT, and 47 patients (45.2%) were treated with 3D/IMRT. Patients in the SBRT group were slightly older (median age: 70.3 vs 62.7 in the 3D/IMRT group). Both groups had similar proportions of patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer (SBRT: 30, 52.6%; 3D/IMRT: 24, 51.1%). All patients were treated with chemotherapy. Patients in the SBRT group underwent more surgical resection compared with the 3D/IMRT group (38.6% vs 23.4%, respectively). At a median follow-up of 22 months, a total of 60 patients (57.7%) died: 25 (25/57, 43.9%) in the SBRT group, and 35 (35/47, 74.5%) in the 3D/IMRT group. Median OS was slightly higher in the SBRT group (29.6 months vs 24.1 months in the 3D/IMRT group). On multivariable Cox regression, the choice of radiation therapy technique was not associated with differences in OS (adjusted hazard ratios [aHR] = 0.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2%-1.3%, P =.18). Moreover, patients that underwent surgical resection had better OS (aHR = 0.3, 95% CI, 0.1%-0.8%, P =.01). Furthermore, progression-free survival was also similar between patients treated with SBRT and those treated with 3D/IMRT (aHR = 0.9, 95% CI, 0.5%-1.8%, P =.81) Conclusions: SBRT was associated with similar clinical outcomes compared with conventional radiation techniques, despite being delivered over a shorter period of time which would spare patients prolonged treatment burden. Future prospective data are still needed to better assess the role of SBRT in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100763
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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