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Pancreas. 2018 Sep;47(8):958-966. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000001133.

Long-Term Survivors of Pancreatic Cancer: A California Population-Based Study.

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Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Fremont.
Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto.



Pancreatic cancer continues to carry a poor prognosis with survival rates that have had minimal improvement over the past 4 decades. We report a population-based, comprehensive analysis of long-term survivors of pancreatic adenocarcinoma diagnosed in the diverse population of California.


Data from the California Cancer Registry were used to evaluate long-term survival. A total of 70,442 patients diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma between 1988 and 2009 were identified. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with achieving 5-year survival.


The overall 5-year survival was 2.5%, with minimal incremental improvements throughout the 3 decades. Age, stage, degree of differentiation, and surgical resection were associated with 5-year survival. Furthermore, younger age and receiving care at a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center were similarly correlated with 5-year survival regardless of surgical intervention. In addition, we identified stage, differentiation, and adjuvant chemotherapy as significant factors for long-term survival in surgically resected patients. In the unresectable patients, Asian/Pacific islanders and Hispanics were significantly more likely to reach the 5-year milestone than non-Hispanic whites.


Although pancreatic cancer mortality remains high, our study highlights baseline characteristics, treatment, biological factors, and ethnicity that are associated with long-term survival. These findings may serve as a springboard for further investigation.

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