PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate if prolonged neoadjuvant therapy, for locally advanced pancreatic cancer could be used to identify those patients who could benefit from resection surgery.
METHODS: Thirty-four patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer invading the adjacent major arteries underwent chemoradiotherapy, followed by 6 months of systemic chemotherapy, unless their tumor was already resectable. After this combination treatment, surgical resection was performed on those patients with tumors judged to be at least borderline resectable.
RESULTS: Reevaluation after chemoradiotherapy revealed that, at that stage, surgery was only possible for one case; resection was successfully performed. Following 6 months of systemic chemotherapy, a further 7 patients were diagnosed with borderline resectable lesions; 4 underwent surgery with no postoperative complications. The median survival time of the patients following surgery was 3.63 years; this was reduced to approximately a third in patients not undergoing surgery (1.01 years; p = 0.0005).
CONCLUSIONS: For patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, prolonged neoadjuvant therapy was successfully used to select candidates that could benefit from surgical resection of their tumor. Resection significantly increased the long-term survival rate.
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