Need for a paradigm shift? Survival post-pancreatoduodenectomy remains poor despite surgical and oncological advances


  • Mia Shepherdson Department of Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia
  • Daniel Kilburn Department of Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia
  • Matthew Marshall-Webb Department of Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia
  • Shahid Ullah Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  • John Chen Department of Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia
  • Mark Brooke-Smith Department of Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia



Pancreatoduodenectomy, Pancreatic cancer, Resection margin, Overall survival


Background: Despite advances in surgical techniques and chemotherapy, poor outcomes persist in pancreatic malignancy. This study aimed to investigate clinical outcomes and describe the impact of factors like the closest resection margin on overall survival following open pancreatoduodenectomy at a tertiary referral centre over a ten-year period.

Methods: Patients who underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy at a tertiary hospital in South Australia between 2009-2019 were included in this retrospective study. Patient demographics, systemic treatments, complications, and histological features were analysed for their role in overall survival. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were used to assess patient survival and estimate median survival time.

Results: There were 134 open pancreaticoduodenectomy procedures during 2009-2019. Majority of patients were male (54.7%) between 65-75 years of age (41%) with an ASA physical status classification grade of 3 (63.3%). 56.7% of patients experienced a complication with 5 in-hospital deaths recorded and 12 ISPGF grade B or C pancreatic anastomotic leaks (n=5, n=7 respectively). 88% of resected specimens were malignant with an overall 5-year survival of 32%. A resection margin of >2 mm had a significantly improved overall survival compared to 0 mm (p=0.01). There was no survival benefit for a resection margin of <1 mm or 1-2 mm compared 0mm margin (p=0.6 and p=0.2 respectively). 65 patients (54.6%) experienced either local or distal disease recurrence by the end of the study period.

Conclusions: There has been no improvement in overall survival post pancreatoduodenectomy for pancreatic malignancy. Further research into the clinical significance of the R status classification is required.


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