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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013 Feb;71(2):419-29. doi: 10.1007/s00280-012-2029-1. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Early initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy improves survival of patients with pancreatic carcinoma after surgical resection.

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Department of Surgery, Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-2-3 Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan.



Adjuvant chemotherapy is accepted as a standard treatment after surgical resection of pancreatic carcinoma; however, the optimal timing between surgery and initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy has not been reported. The aim of this study was to determine the optimal timing of adjuvant chemotherapy after surgical resection of pancreatic carcinoma.


Records of 104 patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy after curative surgical resection of pancreatic carcinoma were reviewed retrospectively. Patients were grouped according to whether they received initial adjuvant chemotherapy within 20 days after surgery (</= 20 days, n = 57) or more than 20 days after surgery (>20 days, n = 47). Relationships between time to initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy, other clinicopathological factors, and survival were analyzed.


The rate of postoperative complication was significantly lower than in the </= 20 days group compared with the >20 days group (P = 0.003); no significant difference in other clinicopathological factors was found. Multivariate analysis revealed that time to initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy was an independent prognostic factor of disease-free survival (P = 0.009) and overall survival (P = 0.037). The </= 20 days group had longer 5-year overall survival rates than did the >20 days group (52 vs. 26 %, P = 0.013) as well as longer 5-year disease-free survival rates (53 vs. 22 %, P = 0.007).


Adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with resected pancreatic carcinoma should be initiated as soon as possible after surgical resection. Prevention of postoperative complication is needed to enable early initiation.

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