Management of painful chronic pancreatitis with single-dose radiotherapy

The American Journal of Gastroenterology
Luisa GuarnerJ-R Malagelada


Some patients with chronic pancreatitis present recurrent flare-ups of pancreatitis and/or unrelenting pain. Current management is mostly limited to analgesics and surgery. We reasoned that anti-inflammatory radiotherapy, which has proven useful to alleviate other painful inflammatory painful disorders, might prove valuable for severely symptomatic patients with chronic pancreatitis. We prospectively studied the efficacy of single-dose anti-inflammatory radiotherapy in 15 consecutive patients with chronic pancreatitis who fulfilled the following criteria: either two flare-ups of pancreatitis in the previous 6 months and/or continuous pain for more than 3 months. Treatment consisted of a single radiation dose of 8 Gy to the pancreas. Exocrine function (fecal elastase), endocrine function (c peptide), quality of life (EuroQol questionnaire), and clinical outcome were assessed before and after radiation. Response was defined as no further pain or flare-ups of pancreatitis. During follow-up (median: 39 months; range: 4-72 months), 12 patients had no further pain or flare-ups. One patient required a second radiation dose 1 year after the initial treatment, but he has remained well ever since (50 months). Two other patients did not r...Continue Reading


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