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Objectives: The role of radiation therapy (RT) in resected pancreatic cancer (PC) remains incompletely defined. We sought to determine clinical variables which predict for local-regional recurrence (LRR) to help select patients for adjuvant RT.

Materials and Methods: We identified 73 patients with PC who underwent resection and adjuvant gemcitabine-based chemotherapy alone. We performed detailed radiologic analysis of first patterns of failure. LRR was defined as recurrence of PC within standard postoperative radiation volumes. Univariate analyses (UVA) were conducted using the Kaplan-Meier method and multivariate analyses (MVA) utilized the Cox proportional hazard ratio model. Factors significant on UVA were used for MVA.

Results: At median follow-up of 20 months, rates of local-regional recurrence only (LRRO) were 24.7%, LRR as a component of any failure 68.5%, metastatic recurrence (MR) as a component of any failure 65.8%, and overall disease recurrence (OR) 90.5%. On UVA, elevated postoperative CA 19-9 (>90 U/mL), pathologic lymph node positive (pLN ) disease, and higher tumor grade were associated with increased LRR, MR, and OR. On MVA, elevated postoperative CA 19-9 and pLN were associated with increased MR and OR. In addition, positive resection margin was associated with increased LRRO on both UVA and MVA.

Conclusions: About 25% of patients with PC treated without adjuvant RT develop LRRO as initial failure. The only independent predictor of LRRO was positive margin, while elevated postoperative CA 19-9 and pLN were associated with predicting MR and overall survival. These data may help determine which patients benefit from intensification of local therapy with radiation.

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