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Precision Radiotherapy to Make Pancreatic Tumors Removable

Precision Radiotherapy to Make Pancreatic Tumors Removable
jr nCalo; Flickr
Can a more precise type of radiation—one that also allows higher doses of radiation—help make pancreatic cancer that has spread just beyond the pancreas surgically removable?

Surgical removal of pancreatic cancer is often not possible because the tumors are wrapped around major veins or arteries leading in or out of the pancreas. Researchers are looking for ways to shrink tumors away from the blood vessels, and in this trial are combining this new type of radiation and chemotherapy.

High Intensity Radiotherapy

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) uses three-dimensional imaging to “see” the shape of a tumor and then change the radiation beam into smaller beans than match the tumor’s shape. This makes IMRT more precise than standard radiation. This allows the radiation oncologist to use higher doses of radiation at the tumor over a shorter period of time while minimizing the doses to surrounding tissues avoiding structures such as veins or arteries, thereby causing less damage. This type of radiation may also kill more tumor cells, with fewer side effects.

Radiation and Chemotherapy

All participants in this trial will receive the radiation treatment and chemotherapy with capecitabine (brand name Xeloda). This drug gets metabolized into fluorouracil (5-FU), and the doctor may choose to use 5-FU for the chemotherapy rather than capecitabine. In either form the drug disrupts the cell replication cycle.

Researchers are looking to see if tumors shrink enough to make surgical removal of the cancer possible, checking tumors through imaging.

This trial is for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Participants must have had prior chemotherapy that was completed up to six weeks before enrolling in this trial.

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 EmergingMed Trial Finder for a listing of all active pancreatic cancer clinical trials.


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