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RADIATION ONCOLOGY NEWS TIP - 11/08/2006

RADIATION ONCOLOGY NEWS TIP

Release Date: November 8, 2006

Nov. 8, 2006 -The following news tip is based on an abstract prepared for the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology to be held November 5-9, 2006, in Philadelphia.

CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIATION AFTER PANCREATIC CANCER SURGERY BOOSTS SURVIVAL (Abstract 146)

Combined chemotherapy and radiation after surgery for pancreatic cancer increases a patient’s chance of living longer, according to a Johns Hopkins study. Radiation oncologists Joseph Herman, M.D. and Michael Swartz, M.D. reviewed records from the past 12 years of 156 patients that received their surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

They compared their survival to 406 patients who had surgery only. Patients receiving surgery plus chemotherapy and radiation, known as “adjuvant” therapy at JHH, survived a median of 21 months.  Survival for surgery-only patients was 16 months.  Two years after treatment, 45 percent of patients who received adjuvant therapy were alive compared to 36 percent in the surgery-only group. 

After five years, 25 percent of patients in the adjuvant therapy group survived while only 16 percent of surgery-only patients lived.

The Hopkins researchers saw a significant difference between the two treatment options, despite patients' age, tumor size, post-operative complications, and whether or not cancerous cells were found in surgical margins and lymph nodes. “These data show that adjuvant therapy is a critical element to improving survival in patients with localized pancreatic cancer,” says Herman, an instructor at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.  “It confirms what we’ve seen in other studies in the United States."

Co-authors are M.J. Swartz, R.A. Abrams, J. Winter, J. Cameron, D. Laheru, C. Yeo, R. Hruban, M.A. Hughes, ad E. Jaffee at Johns Hopkins.

On the Web: www.astro.org

For the Media

Media Contact: Vanessa Wasta
410-955-1287; wastava@jhmi.edu

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