BACKGROUND: Different studies have proved in recent years that hypofractionated radiotherapy (RT) improves overall survival of patients affected by locally advanced, unresectable, pancreatic cancer. The clinical management of these patients generally leads to poor results and is considered very challenging, due to different factors, heavily influencing treatment delivery and its outcomes. Firstly, the dose prescribed to the target is limited by the toxicity that the highly radio-sensitive organs at risk (OARs) surrounding the disease can develop. Treatment delivery is also complicated by the significant inter-fractional and intra-fractional variability of therapy volumes, mainly related to the presence of hollow organs and to the breathing cycle. The recent introduction of magnetic resonance guided radiotherapy (MRgRT) systems leads to the opportunity to control most of the aforementioned sources of uncertainty influencing RT treatment workflow in pancreatic cancer. MRgRT offers the possibility to accurately identify radiotherapy volumes, thanks to the high soft-tissue contrast provided by the Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI), and to monitor the tumour and OARs positions during the treatment fraction using a high-temporal cine MRI. However, the main advantage offered by the MRgRT is the possibility to online adapt the RT treatment plan, changing the dose distribution while the patient is still on couch and successfully addressing most of the sources of variability.
SHORT CONCLUSION: Aim of this study is to present and discuss the state of the art, the main pitfalls and the innovative opportunities offered by online adaptive MRgRT in pancreatic cancer treatment.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
- Organs at Risk/radiation effects
- Pancreatic Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
- Radiotherapy, Image-Guided/methods