ASTRO shares new guidelines on pancreatic cancer treatment

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has created new guidelines on the use of radiation therapy to treat pancreatic cancer patients. The full recommendations were published in Practical Radiation Oncology.

To develop these guidelines, a task force reviewed 179 different articles on the topic published from May 2007 to January 2017. The American Society of Clinical Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology also worked closely with ASTRO throughout the process.

According to a prepared statement from ASTRO, the recommendations cover four primary topics: The use of radiation therapy in pre-surgical, post-surgical, definitive and palliative treatment settings; the differences between stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and conventional radiation therapy; various technical aspects of radiation therapy; and the mitigation of common side effects. 

“One thing this guideline offers that hasn't been available previously is context about the current status of ablative radiotherapy such as SBRT and where it might be useful for patients with pancreatic cancer,” Manisha Palta, MD, a radiation oncologist at Duke University and co-chair of the guideline task force, said in the statement.

The recommendations also explore “emerging and upcoming trial reports” that could have a significant impact on how radiation therapy is used to treat pancreatic cancer patients in the years ahead.

“This is a rapidly evolving field and some potentially practice-changing studies that are not included in this guideline may become available in the relatively near-term future,” Palta said in the same statement.