Aim. We describe the feasibility of combining infusional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) with intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). Methods. Patients with surgically resectable locally advanced gastrointestinal cancers were treated concurrently during surgery with IORT and a 72 h infusion of 5-FU. Patients without previous external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) were subsequently treated with EBRT (40-50 Gy) concurrent with a 21-day continuous infusion of 5-FU. Pancreatic, gastric, duodenal, ampullary, recurrent colorectal, and recurrent anal cancer were included. Results. During IORT/5-FU, no chemotherapy-related grade III or IV hematologic or gastrointestinal toxicity was noted. Post-surgical recovery or wound healing was not affected. One of nine patients who received post-operative radiation required a treatment break. During follow-up, there were more complications in patients with pelvic tumours, especially those with previous radiation. Nine patients have had local and/or local regional recurrences, two of these in the IORT field. Conclusions. Treatment with a combination of IORT and 5-FU followed by EBRT and 5-FU is feasible. However, long-term complications may be increased in previously irradiated recurrent pelvic tumours.
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