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HPB (Oxford). 2012 Jun;14(6):365-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-2574.2012.00445.x. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Yield of clinical and radiographic surveillance in patients with resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma following multimodal therapy.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Following potentially curative resection at this centre, patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAC) are routinely enrolled in a programme of clinical and radiographic surveillance. This study sought to evaluate its diagnostic yield.


All patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy for PAC at this institution during 1998-2008 were identified. Patients with asymptomatic recurrence were compared with those with symptomatic recurrence. Factors associated with survival following the detection of recurrence were compared.


A total of 216 of 327 (66.1%) resected patients developed recurrence. Asymptomatic recurrence was detected in 118 (54.6%) patients. Symptomatic recurrence was associated with multifocal disease or carcinomatosis, poor performance status and less frequent subsequent therapy. Median time to recurrence did not differ between groups, but survival after detection was shorter in symptomatic patients (5.1 months vs. 13.0 months; P < 0.001). Treatment was administered more frequently to asymptomatic patients (91.2% vs. 61.4%; P < 0.001). At recurrence, a preserved performance status score of ≤ 1, further therapy, low CA 19-9, and an isolated site of recurrence were independently associated with longer post-recurrence survival (P < 0.001).


Overall, 54.6% of cases of recurrent PAC were detected prior to the onset of symptoms using a standardized clinical and radiographic surveillance strategy. Although this retrospective analysis limits definitive conclusions associating this strategy with survival, these results suggest the need for further studies of postoperative surveillance.

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