Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) is an innovative treatment approach for cancer of the pancreas. The common causes of treatment failure in pancreatic cancer are regional recurrence and distant metastasis. While at present the benefit of IORT in unresectable pancreatic cancer is still controversial and awaits further prospective trials for its clarification, the experience gathered over a period of 30 years with IORT for pancreatic cancer does suggest that IORT should be part of the adjuvant therapy of surgical resection. A combination with pre- or postoperative external beam radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be beneficial for both resectable and unresectable patients. IORT was shown to be a relatively safe intervention and it notably improved the quality of life of patients with locally advanced pancreatic carcinomas by alleviating their pain. Here, we summarize and discuss the experience reported to date and present our historical analysis of IORT for pancreatic cancer.
- Pancreatic cancer