Resection status, age and nodal involvement determine survival among patients receiving adjuvant chemoradiotherapy in pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Drew Moghanaki, Rosemarie Mick, Emma Elizabeth Furth, Davendra Sohal, Patricia M. Salmon, Ali Behbahani, Alicia K. Morgans, Seth M. Miller, Bruce J. Giantonio, Richard W. Whittington, Daniel G. Haller, Ernest F. Rosato, John P. Plastaras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Context Pancreas cancer can potentially be cured by resection, but the role of adjuvant chemotherapy and/or chemoradiation has been controversial. Objectives To better define clinicopathological factors that may serve as predictive and/or prognostic variables. Patients Between 1984 and 2006, we retrospectively analyzed 91 patients with pancreas cancer treated with pancreaticoduodenectomy or total pancreatectomy followed by adjuvant 5-fluorouracil-based chemoradiation at the University of Pennsylvania. Final pathological coding including margin status was confirmed by a pathologist. Interventions Patients were treated with 48.6 to 63.0 Gy, and 96.7% completed their prescribed radiation dose. Main outcome measures The prognostic significance of demographic factors, stage, year of surgery, tumor location, grade, resection status, and number of positive lymph nodes on overall survival were examined. Results With a median follow-up of 6.5 years, the overall median survival was 2.3 years (95% CI 1.5-3.2 years), and the 5-year overall survival was 28.9%. In multivariate analysis, completeness of resection (P<0.001), fewer number of positive lymph nodes (0 vs. 1-2 vs. 3 or more) (P=0.004), and age less than, or equal to, 60 years (P=0.006) were all independently associated with improved overall survival. The overall survival reported in this study compares favorably with the results of other single-institution studies and with the RTOG 97-04 trial. Conclusions Adjuvant 5-FU-based chemoradiation following radical pancreatectomy can be delivered safely and results in comparatively good overall survival. The results of this analysis underscore the importance of resection status, number of involved lymph nodes and patient age as prognostic characteristics. These factors may be considered stratification variables for future post-pancreatectomy adjuvant therapy trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-444
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Pancreas
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Adjuvant
  • Chemotherapy
  • Pancreatic neoplasms
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology


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