The Physician Data Query clinical trials database on the Internet and the proceedings of the 1996 to 2001 annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the 1999 to 2001 annual meetings of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology were searched for reports of new or ongoing trials. Relevant articles and abstracts were selected and reviewed by each reviewer independently, and the reference lists from these sources were searched for additional trials.
Articles were selected for inclusion in this systematic review of the evidence if they were fully published reports or abstracts of randomized trials or meta-analyses comparing combinations of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and/or immunotherapy either to each other or supportive care alone in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Data on overall survival for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer had to be reported. Other outcomes of interest were disease-free survival, local control, adverse effects and quality of life. If patients with metastatic disease were included in the study, results had to be reported separately for patients with locally advanced disease.
1. Phase I and II studies were not considered for inclusion in this report because of the availability of randomized trials.
2. Letters and editorials were not considered.
Synthesizing the evidence
Quantitative meta-analysis was not undertaken because the trials were too clinically heterogeneous to pool. The doses of radiotherapy varied widely, as did the chemotherapeutic agents and schedules.
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