Pancreatic cancer is a rapidly fatal disease with very few 5-year survivors even after aggressive surgical treatment.
In this study, researchers from Canada determined the actual 5-year survival rate of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma who underwent a resection with curative intent.
|Tumor stage and grade were independently associated with survival.|
|Journal of the American College of Surgeons|
They evaluated patients in 5 teaching hospitals within the University of Toronto system, between 1988 and 1996.
The researchers identified 123 patients who had a resection and a pathologic diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma with complete follow-up.
The team then determined clinical and histopathologic features of 5-year survivors to determine factors associated with a favorable prognosis.
They found that mean survival was 31.7 months. There were only 18 5-year survivors, however 5 of these survived longer than 10 years.
The survivors included 13 patients who had undergone a Whipple resection, 4 who had undergone a distal pancreatectomy, and 1 who had undergone a total pancreatectomy.
The team found that tumor size, lack of jaundice at presentation, negative nodal disease, low tumor grade, and a low tumor stage were predictors of survival in univariate analysis.
However, only tumor stage and grade were independently associated with survival in a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model.
Dr Sean Cleary's team concluded, "Long term survival from pancreatic adenocarcinoma is possible if the disease is identified in its early stages".
"These and other similar data should provide further stimulus for the development and evaluation of novel screening strategies to improve early detection of this disease".