Treatment of human pancreatic cancer using combined ultrasound, microbubbles, and gemcitabine: A clinical case study

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Abstract

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability and efficacy of inducing sonoporation in a clinical setting, using commercially available technology, to increase the patients’ quality of life and extend the low Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance grade; as a result increasing the overall survival in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Methods:

Patients were treated using a customized configuration of a commercial clinical ultrasound scanner over a time period of 31.5 min following standard chemotherapy treatment with gemcitabine. SonoVue® ultrasound contrast agent was injected intravascularly during the treatment with the aim to induce sonoporation.

Results:

Using the authors’ custom acoustic settings, the authors’ patients were able to undergo an increased number of treatment cycles; from an average of 9 cycles, to an average of 16 cycles when comparing to a historical control group of 80 patients. In two out of five patients treated, the maximum tumor diameter was temporally decreased to 80 ± 5% and permanently to 70 ± 5% of their original size, while the other patients showed reduced growth. The authors also explain and characterize the settings and acoustic output obtained from a commercial clinical scanner used for combined ultrasound microbubble and chemotherapy treatment.

Conclusions:

It is possible to combine ultrasound, microbubbles, and chemotherapy in a clinical setting using commercially available clinical ultrasound scanners to increase the number of treatment cycles, prolonging the quality of life in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma compared to chemotherapy alone.

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