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AIM: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is a life-threatening disease with a rising frequency and the fourth leading cause of cancer death. This review aimed to assess the impact of postoperative radiotherapy through a meta-analysis of prospective randomized studies. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Six studies met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed to calculate the cumulative risk of death (hazard ratio) in patients affected by pancreatic cancer treated with or without radiotherapy. Higgins' index was used to determine heterogeneity in between-study variability and, subsequently, the random-effects model was applied according to DerSimonian and Laird. RESULTS: Eight hundred and thirty-seven patients were analyzed (418 in the control arm and 419 in the treatment one), the hazard ratio for death after randomization was 0.92 (p=0.560, 95% confidence interval=0.70-1.22). When scrutinizing these studies, only one out of six showed a statistically significant benefit due to the addition of radiotherapy in the postoperative setting. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the use of adjuvant radiotherapy is not beneficial in treating all patients affected by pancreatic cancer but only for a subset of cases with potential residual local disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Anticancer Res

Publication Date





4697 - 4704


Pancreatic cancer, adjuvant radiotherapy, biomarkers, meta-analysis, radiotherapy, review