Ground-breaking Study Treats Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer


Alessandro Napoli, MD and his colleagues at the University of Roma La Sapienza in Italy are establishing a solid reputation as clinical trail-blazers for focused ultrasound. Their latest clinical study is the first to use MR-guided focused ultrasound to treat patients with unresectable, locally advanced pancreatic cancer. The study, which is expected to enroll 15-20 patients, is exploring the feasibility and clinical performance of MR-guided focused ultrasound ablation in palliating pain and controlling tumors. Four patients have received treatment to date and will be followed for up to 12 months.

Napoli believes that MR-guided focused ultrasound may offer hope to those with pancreatic cancer. “This disease is very aggressive, and the standard of treatment is so poor,” he says.

While minimally invasive, percutaneous procedures such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and cryosurgery have replaced surgery for solid abdominal tumors, they are not safe for the pancreas. “These approaches can be very dangerous, causing complications such as hemorrhage and pancreatitis,” Napoli notes. “High intensity focused ultrasound is not prone to the same adverse events.”

Ultrasound-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) has been introduced as a feasible treatment option for patients with pancreatic cancer, and Napoli believes MR-guided focused ultrasound may provide more precise treatment.  VIEW STUDY DETAILS