Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is regarded by many as the most lethal of all adult cancers. Although it is the 12th most common cancer in Australia, as a cause of cancer death its ranking rises to 5th.
Patients with pancreatic cancer often live for less than 12 months after their diagnosis. Tumours can only be removed by radical surgery if they are localised to the pancreas when they are first diagnosed and on average, only 8% of patients have localised disease at presentation.
Even when the tumour is removed by surgery, there is a 50% chance that the cancer will come back, although some cases are at a greater risk of recurrence than others.
The use of chemotherapy and radiotherapy with surgery appears to improve survival for these patients. For the remaining patients whose cancers cannot be removed by surgery, the identification of an effective non-surgical treatment that can achieve durable symptom control remains a high priority. There is currently no optimum treatment for patients with advanced or recurrent pancreatic cancer.
Radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy has been show to improve survival time significantly but newer approaches to treatment are still needed. This study will provide additional answers about the role of radiotherapy in combination with chemotherapy. This trial will also provide information about the combination of two different chemotherapy drugs, Gemcitabine and Oxaliplatin.
Patients who take part in this study will receive chemotherapy treatment, followed by radiotherapy during which another kind of chemotherapy drug, flurouracil, will be given. After radiotherapy, more chemotherapy will be given.
The objectives of this study are to assess whether this combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be given without too many undesirable side-effects (i.e. that these treatments are feasible), shrink the cancer (tumour) or slow its growth and maybe help patients feel better.
A/Professor David Goldstein (NSW), Dr Sean Bydder (WA), Dr Jennifer Harvey (QLD), Dr Sudarshan (Sid) Selva-Nayaram (SA), Dr Craig Underhill (VIC)
Border Medical Oncology
Multi-State Research Grant: 2007