Joseph M Pepek

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (14)26.55 Total impact

  • Joseph M Pepek · Jared D Christensen · Chris R Kelsey

    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Practical Radiation Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose To assess the efficacy of preoperative positron emission tomography (PET) to stage the ipsilateral hilum in resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods and materials All patients who underwent surgery for NSCLC between 1995 and 2008 were evaluated. Patients who underwent preoperative PET imaging at our institution and had hilar nodal sampling were included. Those whose primary tumors extended to the hilum or who received preoperative chemotherapy or radiation therapy were excluded. All PET studies were interpreted by an attending nuclear medicine radiologist and were scored as positive or negative in the hilum or peribronchial area based on visual analysis alone. A 2-sided Fisher exact test compared patient subgroups. Results During the time interval, 1558 patients underwent surgery for NSCLC, of whom 484 were eligible for this analysis. The ipsilateral hilum was positive on preoperative PET in 107 patients. The median number of N1 lymph nodes sampled was 4 (range, 1-31). Positive ipsilateral N1 lymph nodes were identified pathologically in 91 patients (19%). Among the 91 patients with involved N1 lymph nodes, 40 were PET positive resulting in a sensitivity of 44%. Among 393 patients without pathologic involvement of hilar lymph nodes, 326 were PET negative resulting in a specificity of 83%. The positive predictive and negative predictive values were 37% and 86%, respectively. Conclusions Positron emission tomography appears to have limitations in staging the ipsilateral hilar lymph nodes. Invasive sampling is appropriate if treatment would differ based on the nodal status.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Practical Radiation Oncology
  • Joseph M Pepek · Christopher G Willett · Brian G Czito
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    ABSTRACT: Contemporary randomized trials have demonstrated that radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy and surgery improves survival in both the neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment of gastroesophageal cancers. Consequently, radiation treatment planning and administration have taken on an added importance to ensure optimal outcomes as well as minimize treatment-related morbidity. This article highlights recent technical advances and considerations for radiation therapy planning for gastroesophageal junction tumors.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Seminars in radiation oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Background To examine toxicity and outcomes for patients treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) for gastric cancer. Methods Patients with gastroesophageal (GE) junction (Siewert type II and III) or gastric adenocarcinoma who underwent neoadjuvant CRT followed by planned surgical resection at Duke University between 1987 and 2009 were reviewed. Overall survival (OS), local control (LC) and disease-free survival (DFS) were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Toxicity was graded according to the Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0. Results Forty-eight patients were included. Most (73%) had proximal (GE junction, cardia and fundus) tumors. Median radiation therapy dose was 45 Gy. All patients received concurrent chemotherapy. Thirty-six patients (75%) underwent surgery. Pathologic complete response and R0 resection rates were 19% and 86%, respectively. Thirty-day surgical mortality was 6%. At 42 months median follow-up, 3-year actuarial OS was 40%. For patients undergoing surgery, 3-year OS, LC and DFS were 50%, 73% and 41%, respectively. Conclusions Preoperative CRT for gastric cancer is well tolerated with acceptable rates of perioperative morbidity and mortality. In this patient cohort with primarily advanced disease, OS, LC and DFS rates in resected patients are comparable to similarly staged, adjuvantly treated patients in randomized trials. Further study comparing neoadjuvant CRT to standard treatment approaches for gastric cancer is indicated.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Radiation Oncology
  • Joseph M Pepek · Christopher G Willett · Brian G Czito

    No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Clinical Practice
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    ABSTRACT: Ampullary carcinoma is a rare malignancy. Despite radical resection, survival rates remain low with high rates of local failure. We performed a single-institution outcomes analysis to define the role of concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in addition to surgery. A retrospective analysis was performed of all patients undergoing potentially curative pancreaticoduodenectomy for adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater at Duke University Hospitals between 1976 and 2009. Time-to-event analysis was performed comparing all patients who underwent surgery alone to the cohort of patients receiving CRT in addition to surgery. Local control (LC), disease-free survival (DFS), overall survival (OS), and metastases-free survival (MFS) were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. A total of 137 patients with ampullary carcinoma underwent Whipple procedure. Of these, 61 patients undergoing resection received adjuvant (n = 43) or neoadjuvant (n = 18) CRT. Patients receiving chemoradiotherapy were more likely to have poorly differentiated tumors (P = .03). Of 18 patients receiving neoadjuvant therapy, 67% were downstaged on final pathology with 28% achieving pathologic complete response (pCR). With a median follow-up of 8.8 years, 3-year local control was improved in patients receiving CRT (88% vs 55%, P = .001) with trend toward 3-year DFS (66% vs 48%, P = .09) and OS (62% vs 46%, P = .074) benefit in patients receiving CRT. Long-term survival rates are low and local failure rates high following radical resection alone. Given patterns of relapse with surgery alone and local control benefit in patients receiving CRT, the use of chemoradiotherapy in selected patients should be considered.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Annals of Surgical Oncology

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2011 · Fuel and Energy Abstracts

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2011 · Fuel and Energy Abstracts
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate how well the tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) 6 and TNM 7 staging systems predict rates of local/regional recurrence (LRR) after surgery alone for non-small cell lung cancer. All patients who underwent surgery for non-small cell lung cancer at Duke between 1995 and 2005 were reviewed. Those undergoing sublobar resections, with positive margins or involvement of the chest wall, or those who received any chemotherapy or radiation therapy (RT) were excluded. Disease recurrence at the surgical margin, or within ipsilateral hilar and/or mediastinal lymph nodes, was considered as a LRR. Stage was assigned based on both TNM 6 and TNM 7. Rates of LRR were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. A Cox regression analysis evaluated the hazard ratio of LRR by stage within TNM 6 and TNM 7. A total of 709 patients were eligible for the analysis. Median follow-up was 32 months. For all patients, the 5-year actuarial risk of LRR was 23%. Conversion from TNM 6 to TNM 7 resulted in 21% stage migration (upstaging in 13%; downstaging in 8%). Five-year rates of LRR for stages IA, IB, IIA, IIB, and IIIA disease using TNM 6 were 16%, 26%, 43%, 35%, and 40%, respectively. Using TNM 7, corresponding rates were 16%, 23%, 37%, 39%, and 30%, respectively. The hazard ratios for LRR were statistically different for IA and IB in both TNM 6 and 7 but were also different for IB and IIA in TNM 7. LRR risk increases monotonically for stages IA to IIB in the new TNM 7 system. This information might be valuable when designing future studies of postoperative RT.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2011 · Journal of thoracic oncology: official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2010 · Fuel and Energy Abstracts
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    ABSTRACT: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has the potential to reduce toxicities associated with chemoradiotherapy in the treatment of anal cancer. This study reports the results of using IMRT in the treatment of anal cancer. Records of patients with anal malignancies treated with IMRT at Duke University were reviewed. Acute toxicity was graded using the NCI CTCAEv3.0 scale. Overall survival (OS), metastasis-free survival (MFS), local-regional control (LRC) and colostomy-free survival (CFS) were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Forty-seven patients with anal malignancy (89% canal, 11% perianal skin) were treated with IMRT between August 2006 and September 2008. Median follow-up was 14 months (19 months for SCC patients). Median radiation dose was 54 Gy. Eight patients (18%) required treatment breaks lasting a median of 5 days (range, 2-7 days). Toxicity rates were as follows: Grade 4: leukopenia (7%), thrombocytopenia (2%); Grade 3: leukopenia (18%), diarrhea (9%), and anemia (4%); Grade 2: skin (93%), diarrhea (24%), and leukopenia (24%). The 2-year actuarial overall OS, MFS, LRC, and CFS rates were 85%, 78%, 90% and 82%, respectively. For SCC patients, the 2-year OS, MFS, LRC, and CFS rates were 100%, 100%, 95%, and 91%, respectively. IMRT-based chemoradiotherapy for anal cancer results in significant reductions in normal tissue dose and acute toxicities versus historic controls treated without IMRT, leading to reduced rates of toxicity-related treatment interruption. Early disease-related outcomes seem encouraging. IMRT is emerging as a standard therapy for anal cancer.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
  • Joseph M Pepek · Christopher G Willett · Brian G Czito
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    ABSTRACT: Radiation therapy (RT) is established as the primary treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the anus. Multiple randomized trials have shown that combined modality therapy with RT, 5-fluorouracil, and mitomycin-C results in high rates of local control, disease-free survival, and sphincter preservation. However, treatment-related toxicity using conventional radiation approaches remains high and may compromise therapeutic efficacy because of prolonged treatment breaks and inability to deliver adequate radiation dose. Recent developments, including the use of PET for staging, radiation planning, and response assessment, and advanced RT planning using intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), may decrease acute and late treatment-related toxicity, provide high-dose target conformality, and permit safe radiation dose escalation. This article reviews the basic principles of IMRT and highlights current literature on these recent advances and the application of new RT techniques.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network: JNCCN

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2009 · Fuel and Energy Abstracts
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    ABSTRACT: The contemporary treatment of anal cancer is combined-modality therapy with radiation therapy, fluorouracil, and mitomycin. This therapy results in long-term disease-free survival and sphincter preservation in the majority of patients. Tempering these positive results is the high rate of treatment-related morbidity associated with chemoradiation therapy for anal cancer. The use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has the potential to reduce acute and chronic treatment-related toxicity, minimize treatment breaks, and potentially improve disease-related outcomes by permitting radiation dose escalation in selected cases.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2009 · Oncology (Williston Park, N.Y.)

Publication Stats

110 Citations
26.55 Total Impact Points


  • 2010-2014
    • Duke University Medical Center
      • Department of Radiation Oncology
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2009-2013
    • Duke University
      • Department of Medicine
      Durham, North Carolina, United States