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Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Elderly Patients With Medically Inoperable Pancreatic Cancer

Yechieli, Raphael L. MD; Robbins, Jared R. MD; Mahan, Meredith MS; Siddiqui, Farzan MD, PhD; Ajlouni, Munther MD

American Journal of Clinical Oncology: February 2017 - Volume 40 - Issue 1 - p 22–26
doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000090
Original Articles: Gastrointestinal

Objectives: People over the age of 75 years account for approximately 40% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, many with comorbidities that may limit their treatment options. This study reports on the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in this population.

Materials and Methods: Twenty consecutively treated patients over the age of 75 with pathologically proven localized pancreatic cancer were included in this retrospective review. All had been evaluated by a multidisciplinary team as unable to tolerate surgery or combined chemoradiation therapy. Patient outcomes were analyzed to determine the safety and efficacy of SBRT in this elderly cohort.

Results: The median age was 83.2 years (minimum 77 y, maximum 90 y). Eighteen patients were treated at time of initial diagnosis, and 2 for recurrence after surgery. Eleven (55%) of the patients had an Adult Comorbidity Evaluation-27 comorbidity index score of 3 (severe) and 6 (30%) had a score of 2 (moderate). Fourteen patients were treated with 35 Gy in 5 fractions, 5 with 30 Gy in 5 fractions, and 1 patient with 36 Gy in 3 fractions. Seven (35%) patients had common terminology criteria for adverse events (CTCAE) V4.0 toxicity grade of 1-2, and 3 patients had a CTCAE V4.0 toxicity grade of 3-4, 2 with dehydration, and 1 had episodes of gastrointestinal bleeding. Three patients recurred locally, 10 had distant metastases, 4 of whom were found on the first posttreatment scan. Median overall survival was 6.4 months (95% confidence interval, 3.5-10.8 mo). Median recurrence-free survival was 6.8 months (95% confidence interval, 1.3-23.5 mo). Two patients survived >23 months.

Conclusion: SBRT for pancreatic cancer appears to be a safe and effective method for treatment of elderly patients, even in the setting of severe comorbidities.

Departments of *Radiation Oncology

Biostatistics, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI

Department of Radiation Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Raphael L. Yechieli, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology, Henry Ford Health System, 2799W. Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail:

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