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Hepatogastroenterology. 2001 Jul-Aug;48(40):1153-6.

Long-term survival after surgical resection for pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1 Yakushiji, Minami-Kawachi, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan.



Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most formidable tumors defying early detection and effective treatment. Long-term survivors, however, do exist after resection. We investigated the clinicopathologic features of patients with pancreatic cancer who survived more than 5 years to draw out some suggestions concerning the indication of surgical treatment.


We studied the clinicopathologic features of 13 patients with pancreatic cancer who survived more than 5 years after resection. We reviewed their clinical records to investigate preoperative symptoms, serum tumor markers, operative findings, postoperative adjuvant therapy, and modes of recurrence and survival periods. Information on the location, size, histology and spread of the primary tumors were mainly obtained from pathology reports.


Histologic types of the long survivors included ductal adenocarcinoma of common type in 4 patients, mucinous noncystic adenocarcinoma in 2, intraductal papillary-mucinous carcinoma (invasive) in 4, undifferentiated carcinoma in 1, endocrine tumor (islet cell carcinoma) in 1 and acinar cell carcinoma in 1. All 4 cases of ductal adenocarcinoma of the common type showed a moderate invasion either to the retroperitoneum, the portal vein or the duodenum. Two patients with mucinous noncystic carcinoma attained a long survival despite extensive invasion of the pancreatic stroma, although one died of peritoneal carcinomatosis. Two of 4 patients with intraductal papillary-mucinous cancer (invasive) died of peritoneal dissemination 6 and 11 years after resection, respectively. Three patients with cancer of other special histologic types, i.e., undifferentiated, well-differentiated endocrine carcinoma and acinar cell carcinoma, showed invasion of the portal vein and splenic artery, involvement of the retroperitoneum and a metastatic tumor in the liver, respectively.


Whereas special histologic types including ductal variants tended to predispose to long-term survival, ductal adenocarcinoma of the common type had some chance of long survival even with invasion of the surrounding tissues.

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