BACKGROUND - Therapeutic approaches to patients with pancreatic cancer have undergone a paradigm shift in recent years. However, little is known about the outcome of patients with recurrent pancreatic cancer who undergo treatment. The purpose of this study was to identify patients with recurrent pancreatic cancer and to determine whether treatment after recurrence had any effect on outcome.
METHODS - A review of all patients undergoing surgical resection with curative intent revealed 70 patients with documented recurrence and complete medical records. Patients were grouped into three categories: group 1 included those who received treatment after recurrence (n = 45), group 2 included those who were not offered treatment (n = 9), and group 3 included those with poor performance status who received no treatment (n = 16).
RESULTS - The median overall survival for the three groups was 26, 18, and 14.5 months for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (P <.00001). The median survival after recurrence was 10 months, 6 months, and 1 month, respectively, for the three groups (P <.0001).
CONCLUSIONS - This is the first series we are aware of that compares the outcomes of patients who received treatment after recurrence of pancreatic cancer with the outcomes of those who received no treatment. In this series, it seems that patients who were well enough to tolerate additional therapy had a longer survival than those who received supportive care only. This may be important in the analysis of adjuvant therapy trials of pancreatic cancer with survival as an end point.