Open Access Research

Orthovoltage intraoperative radiation therapy for pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Pavan Bachireddy1, Diane Tseng1, Melissa Horoschak1, Daniel T Chang1, Albert C Koong1, Daniel S Kapp1 and Phuoc T Tran2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford Cancer Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

2 Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

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Radiation Oncology 2010, 5:105  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-5-105

Published: 8 November 2010



To analyze the outcomes of patients from a single institution treated with surgery and orthovoltage intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) for pancreatic adenocarcinoma.


We retrospectively reviewed 23 consecutive patients from 1990-2001 treated with IORT to 23 discrete sites with median and mean follow up of 6.5 and 21 months, respectively. Most tumors were located in the head of the pancreas (83%) and sites irradiated included: tumor bed (57%), vessels (26%), both the tumor bed/vessels (13%) and other (4%). The majority of patients (83%) had IORT at the time of their definitive surgery. Three patients had preoperative chemoradiation (13%). Orthovoltage X-rays (200-250 kVp) were employed via individually sized and beveled cone applicators. Additional mean clinical characteristics include: age 64 (range 41-81); tumor size 4 cm (range 1.4-11); and IORT dose 1106 cGy (range 600-1500). Post-operative external beam radiation (EBRT) or chemotherapy was given to 65% and 76% of the assessable patients, respectively. Outcomes measured were infield control (IFC), loco-regional control (LRC), distant metastasis free survival (DMFS), overall survival (OS) and treatment-related complications.


Kaplan-Meier (KM) 2-year IFC, LRC, DMFS and OS probabilities for the whole group were 83%, 61%, 26%, and 27%, respectively. Our cohort had three grade 3-5 complications associated with treatment (surgery and IORT).


Orthovoltage IORT following tumor reductive surgery is reasonably well tolerated and seems to confer in-field control in carefully selected patients. However, distant metastases remain the major problem for patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma.