Purpose: Patients with close or positive margins after surgery for pancreatic carcinoma are at a high risk for recurrence. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) allows for safe dose escalation with great conformity and short duration of treatment. Herein, we report the initial results of a prospective observational study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of this treatment option.

Methods and Materials: Patients eligible for the study had pathologically proven T1-4N0-1M0 pancreatic adenocarcinoma with a positive margin (≤ 1 mm) or a close margin defined as < 2.5 mm. Patients were treated with either neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy, if eligible for systemic therapy. All patients received 36 Gy in 3 fractions to the close or positive margin site.

Results: From February 2013 to January 2018, 50 patients were enrolled with 49 patients treated on protocol and included in the analysis. The median age was 71 years. The median clinical target volume was 11.3 cc and median planning target volume 22.0 cc. The median overall survival was 23.7 months (95% confidence interval, 13.6-33.8). Local progression-free survival at 1 and 2 years was 85% and 77%, respectively. Regional progression-free survival at 1 and 2 years was 73% and 73%, respectively. Distant metastases-free survival was 57% and 49% at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Grade 3+ radiation toxicity was only 4.1% and occurred in 2 patients.

Conclusions: Adjuvant pancreatic SBRT was shown to be a safe and feasible treatment option for patients with high-risk pancreatic adenocarcinoma and close or positive margins. This is the first prospective study of SBRT in high-risk postoperative pancreatic cancer. Our results yielded significant local and regional control with low rates of acute toxicity. This technique does not interrupt the administration of systemically dosed multiagent chemotherapy and can be safely interdigitated between cycles because SBRT is only 1 week of treatment.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Advances in Radiation Oncology, v. 4, issue 2, p. 294-301.

© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Society for Radiation Oncology.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)