The retroperitoneal resection margin and vessel involvement are important factors determining survival after pancreaticoduodenectomy for ductal adenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas
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The prognosis of ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is still poor. We analysed the factors that have a major influence on the survival of patients. Surgical specimens from 51 patients with ductal adenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas were examined for tumour size, histological type, grade and local extension. In 7 patients the retroperitoneal resection margin was involved either macroscopically or histologically. Their mean survival was 10.6 months (1–17 months), compared with 22.7 months for the 44 patients with curative R0 resection. In 10 patients large vessels (portal and/or mesenteric vein) had to be resected; they survived for only 2-11 months, with a mean of 5 months (P<0.05). Non-R0-resected patients and patients in whom tumour-invaded vessels had to be resected constitute a high-risk group with a significantly shorter mean survival of 8.8 months, compared with 24.3 months for R0 resected patients without vessel invasion (P<0.05). Lymph node metastases were seen in 35 of 51 patients. Survival analysis based on nodal status revealed a mean survival of 33 months for patients staged as N0, 21.4 for N1a patients and 14 month for N1b patients. The differences were not statistically significant, however. Our data suggest that tumour invasion of the retroperitoneal resection margin and large vessel involvement are the major factors determining survival in patients with pancreatic cancer.
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