Aggressive surgical approach in pancreatic cancer--is it justified?

V. Catz-Snir*, P. Schachter, M. Shimonov, Y. Avni, G. Gvirtz, A. Czerniak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resection presents the only possible cure for pancreatic cancer. An aggressive surgical approach may extend the limits of resection and offer cure for more patients. 37 women and 28 men, mean age 67 years (range 33-84) with focal lesions underwent pancreatic resection (1993-1999). Cancer of the pancreatic head was found in 45, in the ampulla in 4 and in the body or tail in 16. There was a tumor larger than 5 cm in 9, vascular involvement in 8, and a combination of both in 6. All were evaluated prior to exploration by standard imaging techniques and 44 by laparoscopic ultrasound. 42 underwent pancreatico-duodenectomy, 16 distal subtotal pancreatectomy and 3 local excision of an ampullary tumor. Benign lesions were found in 8 (focal pancreatitis in 4 and a serous cystic lesion in 4). Curative resection (microscopically negative margins, negative lymph nodes) was achieved in 44. 2 died 1-2 months after operation of septic complications (2% operative mortality). The most frequent complication (in 8) was pancreatic fistula. Additional complications included anastomotic-line bleeding (3), intra-abdominal abscess (2), and 1 developed portal vein thrombosis (treated surgically). 1- and 2-year survival in those after curative pancreatic resection was 81% and 55% respectively. 2-year survival in those after palliative resection (positive resection margins or positive lymph nodes) was 50% and 11%, respectively. After proper selection of those in whom it is possible to perform curative resection, regardless of size or vascular involvement, an aggressive surgical approach is justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-120, 190
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


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