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J Am Coll Surg. 1999 Jul;189(1):1-7.

Pancreatic cancer: a report of treatment and survival trends for 100,313 patients diagnosed from 1985-1995, using the National Cancer Database.

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  • 1Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons, Chicago, IL 60611-3211, USA.



The National Cancer Database is an electronic registry system sponsored jointly by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the American Cancer Society. Patients diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma from 1985 to 1995 were analyzed for trends in stage of disease, treatment patterns, and outcomes.


Seven annual requests for data were issued by the National Cancer Database from 1989 through 1995. Data on 100,313 patients were voluntarily submitted using a standardized reporting format.


The anatomic site distribution was: head, 78%; body, 11%; and tail, 11%. The ratios of limited to advanced disease (Stage I/Stage IV) were 0.70 for tumors in the head, 0.24 for body tumors, and 0.10 for tail tumors. Of all patients, 83% did not have a surgical procedure and 58% did not have cancer-directed treatment. Resection was done for 9,044 (9%) patients, including 22% of those with Stage I disease. The overall 5-year survival rate was 23.4% for patients who had pancreatectomy, compared with 5.2% for those who had no cancer-directed treatment.


Overall survival rates for pancreatic cancer have not changed in 2 decades. A small minority of patients presented with limited, resectable disease, but the best survival rates per stage were achieved after surgical resection. Five-year survival rates after resection reported herein corroborated the improved survival rates of more recent large, single institution studies.

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