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G Chir. 2002 Oct;23(10):383-90.

[Extended lymphadenectomy for carcinoma of pancreatic head. Personal experience].

[Article in Italian]

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  • 1Clinica Chirurgica Generale, Universit√† degli Studi di Pavia.


Long-term survival in patients with cancer of the pancreatic head is disappointing. Surgery is the only curative therapy. Unfortunately the prognosis of patients resected (10-15%) is extremely poor due to loco-regional cancer recurrence (50%). Lymphatic and perineural invasion might account for local recurrence. Japanese studies reported the importance of an extended lymphadenectomy during the classic Whipple exeresis (40% of patients present lymph node metastases). During the period 1996-2000 at our Institution 20 patients (14 M, 6 F, mean age 62.4 years) with pancreatic head cancer (17 adenocarcinoma, 1 lymphoma, 2 carcinoma) underwent Whipple's exeresis with a regional (peripancreatic or R1) and juxta-regional (para-aortic or R2) lymphadenectomy according to Ishikawa technique. R1 nodes consisted of lymph nodes at the pylorus, superior head, common bile duct, anterior pancreaticoduodenal region, inferior head and superior mesenteric vessels. R2 nodes consisted of lymph nodes at the superior body, inferior body, mid colic region, common hepatic duct, coeliac truncus and para-aortic region. This wide dissection was quite easy also in patients with a serious cholestatic disease. Intraoperative mortality was 0%. Operative mortality was 5%. Postoperative complications (20%) were 1 sepsis, 1 hepato-renal syndrome with hepatic coma, 1 mechanical intestinal obstruction, 1 wound infection. Eight patients (40%) died in 6 months in average (neoplastic recurrence 40%). Notwithstanding the advanced disease (stage III 50%; N1+ 50%), twelve patients (60%) have a mean postoperative survival rate of 18.5 (range 1-48) months without neoplastic recurrence. Tumour diameter was less than 4 cm in 83.3% of cases. An earlier diagnosis (with tumour diameter < 4 cm) can improve pancreatic head cancer prognosis. A wide surgical exeresis with a R2 lymph nodes clearance together with surrounding connective and nervous tissue can remove micrometastases with a better control local recurrence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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