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J R Coll Surg Edinb. 1999 Aug;44(4):231-5.

Effect of curative versus palliative surgical treatment for stage III pancreatic cancer patients.

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  • 11st Department of Propedeutic Surgery, University of Athens, Greece.


During the last decade, significant progress has been made in pancreaticoduodenectomy for patients with pancreatic carcinoma. Pancreatic resection performed by surgeons in tertiary referral centres is therefore justified, while the indications for pancreatic resection could be extended in patients with advance stages of disease. The aim of our study is to compare the effect of curative (pancreaticoduodenectomy) versus palliative surgery in patients with stage III pancreatic cancer, during a 20-years period. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 58 consecutive patients with stage III ductal adenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas. 23 patients underwent pancreatoduodenectomy with curative intent while the remaining 35 patients had surgery for palliative purposes (combined biliary and gastric bypass was performed in 83%). The hospital mortality rate was similar in both groups (4% vs 6%). 43% of patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy had an uncomplicated post-operative course compared with 49% of patients undergoing palliative bypass. The length of surgical procedure and post-operative hospital stay in pancreaticoduodenectomy group were significant longer compared to those patients undergoing palliative bypass (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02 respectively). The overall actuarial survival was significantly (p < 0.01) longer in the group of patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy compared with the group with palliative intent surgery.


Pancreaticoduodenectomy with curative intent for stage III pancreatic cancer patients, could improve prognosis with similar peri-operative morbidity and mortality when compared with palliative bypass.

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