Radiation and Chemotherapy to Make Pancreatic Cancer Surgically Removable

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Can targeted radiation and chemotherapy shrink pancreatic tumors to make patients candidates for surgery to remove the tumor?

A clinical trial looks at whether combining intensified radiation and chemotherapy increases the number of pancreatic tumors that are surgically removable. Trial participants who do not qualify for surgery will be followed for their continued survival.

Combining Radiation and Chemotherapy

The type of radiation under study is proton beam radiation, which can be focused to reach only the targeted area.

On the same days as radiation treatment, participants will take capecitabine (brand name Xeloda), an antimetabolite drug that stops or slows the growth of cancer cells by disrupting the cell replication cycle. Capecitabine is a pill and it is the prodrug form of fluorouracil (5-FU). A prodrug is a medication that is inactive until it is metabolized by the body. Prodrugs can reduce the unintended effects of medications like chemotherapy drugs, which often affect many cells, not just the cancer cells.

Trial Details

This trial is for people with pancreatic cancer that is not operable or borderline operable. All trial participants will receive the treatment studied in the trial. The effectiveness of the treatment will be assessed by X-ray, to determine if surgical removal is possible. At selected intervals, participants will also need to fill out a Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT-Hep) questionnaire about symptoms and functioning for patients with gastrointestinal cancers.

We encourage you to consult your physicians for clinical trials that may be right for you. The website ClinicalTrials.gov provides more details about this trial as well as many others. You can visit the Clinical Trial Finder for a listing of all active pancreatic cancer clinical trials.