Background: To compare operative morbidity, mortality, quality of life, and survival after pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) versus pancreatoduodenectomy with extended lymphadenectomy (PD/ELND) in patients with resectable pancreatic cancer.
Methods: From May 1997 to July 2003 there were 132 patients with biopsy examination-proven or suspected adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head who agreed to participate in a single-institution, prospective, randomized trial. If resectable at operation, patients then were randomized to standard PD (40 patients) or PD/ELND (39 patients). Quality of life was assessed by using the Functional Assessment of Response to Cancer Therapy specific to the pancreas. Morbidity, mortality, and survival were analyzed.
Results: Demographics and pathologic characteristics for both groups were similar. When comparing PD/ELND with standard PD, the median operating time was greater for the PD/ELND group (7.6 h vs 6.2 h, P < .01), blood transfusion more likely (44% vs 22%, P < .05), and the median number of lymph nodes resected was greater (36 vs 15 nodes, P < .01). Morbidity and mortality rates were comparable. Median durations of stay were 11 and 10.5 days (P = NS), respectively. There were no significant differences in 1-year (71% vs 82%), 3-year (25% vs 41%), 5-year (16.5% vs 16.4%), and median (19 vs 26 mo) survival (P = .32). At 4 months postoperatively, diarrhea, body appearance, and bowel control scored lower on the Functional Assessment of Response to Cancer Therapy specific to the pancreas after PD/ELND (P < .05).
Conclusions: Although a much larger study would have more power to compare statistically the survival between groups, both the decrement in quality of life and similar studies showing no survival difference make PD/ELND unattractive for further prospective investigation.