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A Phase II Study of Fixed-Dose Rate Gemcitabine Plus Low-Dose Cisplatin Followed by Consolidative Chemoradiation for Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

      Purpose: The optimal strategy for treating locally advanced pancreatic cancer remains controversial, including the respective roles and timing of chemotherapy and radiation. We conducted a Phase II nonrandomized trial to evaluate sequential chemotherapy followed by chemoradiation in this patient population.
      Methods and Materials: Chemotherapy naive patients with locally advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma were treated with fixed-dose rate gemcitabine (1,000 mg/m2 at 10 mg/m2/min) plus cisplatin 20 mg/m2 on Days 1 and 15 of a 28-day cycle. Those without evidence of extrapancreatic metastases after six cycles of chemotherapy received radiation (5,040 cGy over 28 fractions) with concurrent capecitabine (800 mg/m2 orally twice daily on the day of radiation) as a radiosensitizer.
      Results: A total of 25 patients were enrolled with a median follow-up time of 656 days. Twelve patients (48%) successfully received all six cycles of chemotherapy plus chemoradiation. Eight patients (32%) progressed during chemotherapy, including 7 with extrapancreatic metastases. Grade 3/4 hematologic toxicities were uncommon. Two patients sustained myocardial infarctions during chemotherapy, and 4 were hospitalized for infectious complications, although none in the setting of neutropenia. Median time to progression was 10.5 months and median survival was 13.5 months, with an estimated 1-year survival rate of 62%. Patients receiving all components of therapy had a median survival of 17.0 months.
      Conclusions: A strategy of initial fixed-dose rate gemcitabine-based chemotherapy, followed by chemoradiation, shows promising efficacy for treatment of locally advanced disease. A substantial proportion of patients will be identified early on as having extrapancreatic disease and spared the potential toxicities associated with radiation.

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