Pancreas – Pancreatic cancer

The Cancer of pancreas forms in two types of pancreatic cells: exocrine cells and neuroendocrine cells, such as islet cells.

The exocrine type is more common and is usually found in advanced stages. Neuroendocrine tumours of the pancreas (islet cell tumours) are less common, but have a more favourable prognosis.

Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer are jaundice, pain and weight loss.

Tag Archive for: Pancreas

Clinical study: Oncothermia as a palliative treatment for pancreatic cancer

Retrospective observational study of 106 patients with pancreatic cancer (pancreatic adenocarcinoma) led by Giammaria Fiorentini M.D., of the Onco-Hematology Department of the “Ospedali Riuniti Marche Nord” Hospital in Pesaro, Italy, treated with Oncothermia.

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is one of the cancers with the poorest prognosis, resulting in a <10% survival rate at 5 years. Modulated electro-hyperthermia (mEHT – Oncothermia) combines heat-therapy with an electric field and has been increasingly used in cancer therapy alone or in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.


Based on retrospective data from 170 patients affected by stage III-IV pancreatic adenocarcinoma, 106 were considered for this study. The sample was divided into two groups: 67 patients that did not receive Oncothermia (non-MEHT) and 39 patients that were treated with Oncothermia (mEHT). 

Oncothermia (mEHT) was performed using a capacitive coupling technique keeping the skin surface at 26°C and 40-42.5°C inside the tumor for > 90% of treatment duration (40-90 minutes). The applied power was 60-150 Watts. Oncothermia was performed in association with chemotherapy in 32 (82%) of patients whereas 7 (18%) received Oncothermia alone. The majority (54%) of no-mEHT group received a second line chemotherapy, whereas 31 (46%) did not receive any further treatment.


106 consecutive patients were enrolled in this study, median age of the sample was 65 (range 31-80) years.

After three months of therapy, tumor response in Oncothermia group was:

  • partial response (PR) in 22 (56%) patients
  • stable disease (SD) in 15 (38%) patients
  • progression disease (PD) in 2 (5%) patients

Tumor response in no-Oncothermia group was:

  • partial response (PR) in 4 (11%) patients
  • stable disease (SD) in 11 (31%) patients
  • progression disease (PD) in 21 (58%) patients.

The median overall survival (OS) of mEHT group was 17.23 (range 2.6-30.4) and 11,33 months (range 0.4-56.25) for non-mEHT group.

In conclusion, Oncothermia may improve tumor response and survival of pancreatic cancer patients.

More information about the study in the following link.

More information about pancreatic cancer treated with Oncothermia on our website (link) or in the following clinical case.

Elevated apoptosis and tumor stem cell destruction in a radioresistant pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line

A recent study presented by Gertrud Farika, from the 1st Department of  Pathology and Experimental Cancer Research, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. It deals with elevated apoptosis and tumor stem cell destruction in a radioresistant pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line when radiotherapy is combined with modulated electro-hyperthermia (mEHT- Oncothermia)

Malignant exocrine tumors of the pancreas are among the worst to respond to oncotherapy. Despite sophisticated guidelines and new targeted therapies, the 5-year survival rate of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinomas is under 10%. The most critical factor responsible for this is the high resistance of the tumor cells to the available chemo- or radiotherapies.

Oncothermia (Modulated electro-hyperthermia – mEHT) is a complementary non-invasive cancer treatment using impedance-coupled radiofrequency to generate selective heat of <42°C causing cell stress and destruction in malignant tissue. In this study, we tested the combination of radiotherapy with Oncothermia in a radioresistant pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line Panc1.


The study was organizated in 4 groups:

  • control (C)
  • Oncothermia treated for 60 min (mEHT)
  • irradiated with 2 Gy using 137Cs (R)
  • combination treatment: irradiation followed by the same dose of Oncothermia (Oncothermia +R)


Visible morphological changes were observed after 24 hours in the treated groups. An elevated number of apoptotic bodies and cell number loss were appeared. Compared to the control group, the apoptotic ratio was the highest in the Oncothermia +R group and significant elevation was measured also in the Oncothermia group. ALDH+ tumor stem cells decreased significantly after Oncothermia and Oncothermia +R treated groups compared to the control.

As it was expected the irradiated group showed the same amount
of CSC cells as the control group (due to well-known radioresistance of the cell line). The CSCs colony forming capacity was also significantly lower in the Oncothermia and Oncothermia +R group compared to the control group. Furthermore, H2Axγ and calreticulin positive cell fractions, indicating DNA double strand-brakes and ER-stress, respectively, were also significantly increased in the Oncothermia and the Oncothermia +R treated groups.

Apoptosis with Oncothermia

Oncothermia treatment alone can lead to massive apoptosis in Panc1 cells by inducing cell stress and DNA double-strand break. Irradiation alone caused some necrosis but without major effect on CSCs. The combined treatment significantly improved the efficacy of radiotherapy resulting in major apoptosis and reduction of CSCs despite of the inherent radioresistance of Pan1.

This study was funded by a grant of the National Research and Innovation Office.

For more information, you can access the original study in the following link.

Pancreatic Cancer treated with Oncothermia, Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy

The following is a case report of a 72 year old female patient. The diagnosis is pancreatic cancer. She was treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, combined with oncothermia.


She presented in March 2017 with a 4 cm tumour in the neck of the pancreas. In particular, the biopsy shows adenocarcinoma.


He could not be resected surgically and started chemotherapy with Folfirinox together with 10 sessions of 90 minutes of Oncothermia.

Subsequently, in July 2017, a control CT scan was performed, showing a tumour reduction of 50%. He then started treatment with radiotherapy plus 10 sessions of 90-minute oncothermia.


A new CT scan in June 2018 showed tumour stability with Ca 19-9 CEA tumour markers within normal limits.

If you wish, you can find more information about pancreatic cancer treated with Oncothermia on our website at this link.