Background: Improved outcomes have been associated with the use of adjuvant therapy after resection of pancreas adenocarcinoma. However, the frequency with which patients receive adjuvant therapy and the factors impacting its use remain largely undefined. We hypothesized that nonutilization of adjuvant therapy was primarily associated with patient comorbidity and onset of postoperative complications. Methods: A prospectively maintained database was reviewed to identify patients who underwent potentially curative resection of histologically confirmed pancreas adenocarcinoma at our institution from January 1996 to May 2007. Clinicopathological data and postoperative treatment history were collected to identify variables associated with receipt of adjuvant therapy. Results: Of 119 patients, 33% did not receive adjuvant therapy. The frequency with which patients underwent adjuvant therapy did not change over time. On multivariate analysis, patient age 70 years or greater, major postoperative complications, distal pancreatectomy, absence of nodal metastases, and absence of perineural invasion were associated with decreased utilization of adjuvant therapy. Discussion: One-third of patients in this contemporary dataset of patients did not go on to receive adjuvant therapy. The likelihood of receiving adjuvant treatment is negatively impacted by the course of postoperative recovery. Moreover, the fact that adjuvant therapy was undertaken less often for older patients and patients with favorable pathological features highlights the selection bias impacting the decision to pursue postoperative therapy for this disease. This selective utilization of postoperative therapy for patients with adverse oncological characteristics is likely to bias any retrospective analysis attempting to measure the efficacy of adjuvant treatment for pancreas adenocarcinoma.
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