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New study shows MRI-guided radiotherapy could double survival rates for people with inoperable pancreatic cancer

London, U.K. – A study of 148 patients has found that radiotherapy on the pioneering ViewRay MRIdian MR-linac almost doubles the median survival rate of patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer, when compared with historical outcomes from conventional treatment.

All patients in the study were treated with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) on the MRIdian MR linac. The median survival of patients in the study was 26 months, compared to the 12-15 months typically seen in patients receiving chemotherapy and standard radiation. The two-year survival rate of patients in the study was over 50%, which is more than double the expected two year rate of 20% with existing UK treatment protocols. The study was led by Miami Cancer Institute in the United States of America.

MRIdian allows doctors to see the tumour and surrounding tissues more clearly, adapt to daily changes, and target the radiation more accurately – making it safer to give the higher doses needed to achieve longer survival. The findings are significant because, at diagnosis, only 20% of pancreatic patients are eligible for surgery and the prognosis for inoperable pancreatic cancer patients is especially poor. Often undetected until it has spread elsewhere in the body, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers and is the fifth biggest cancer killer in the UK. MRIdian therefore addresses a significant unmet need.

GenesisCare, a leading private cancer care provider in the UK, has been treating patients on the UK’s only MRIdian machines since 2019 – including over 50 NHS patients in a Compassionate Access Programme enabled through a collaboration with the University of Oxford and charitable funding from the GenesisCare Foundation, the UK charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and ViewRay, the manufacturers of the MRIdian system. NHS England has recently agreed to commission SABR for pancreatic cancer using standard radiotherapy machines, which use CT-guidance to deliver lower radiation doses.

James Good, Clinical Director of Stereotactic Radiotherapy at GenesisCare comments: “Inoperable pancreatic cancer poses a significant challenge, because whilst we know that radiotherapy can effectively control tumour growth, existing technology limits the extent of the benefit achievable for patients.

We chose MRIdian because we saw that it facilitates a new era in stereotactic radiotherapy where we can safely deliver the higher radiation doses needed for better tumour control without increasing side effects.

We’ve treated over 400 patients on our MRIdian and trained over 40 oncologists in its use – it’s part of the future of cancer care in the UK.”

Find out more about MRIdian radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer here.

References

  1. Multi-centre study of 148 inoperable cancer patients carried out in US by ViewRay.
  2. Statistics on Pancreatic Cancer instances taken from Pancreatic Cancer UK: https://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/what-we-do/media-centre/pancreatic-cancer-statistics/