Clinical Limitations of Photon, Proton and Carbon Ion Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Mikaela Dell'Oro, Michala Short, Puthenparampil Wilson, Eva Bezak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Despite improvements in radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgical procedures over the last 30 years, pancreatic cancer 5-year survival rate remains at 9%. Reduced stroma permeability and heterogeneous blood supply to the tumour prevent chemoradiation from making a meaningful impact on overall survival. Hypoxia-activated prodrugs are the latest strategy to reintroduce oxygenation to radioresistant cells harbouring in pancreatic cancer. This paper reviews the current status of photon and particle radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer in combination with systemic therapies and hypoxia activators.

Methods: The current effectiveness of management of pancreatic cancer was systematically evaluated from MEDLINE® database search in April 2019.

Results: Limited published data suggest pancreatic cancer patients undergoing carbon ion therapy and proton therapy achieve a comparable median survival time (25.1 months and 25.6 months, respectively) and 1-year overall survival rate (84% and 77.8%). Inconsistencies in methodology, recording parameters and protocols have prevented the safety and technical aspects of particle therapy to be fully defined yet.

Conclusion: There is an increasing requirement to tackle unmet clinical demands of pancreatic cancer, particularly the lack of synergistic therapies in the advancing space of radiation oncology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number163
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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