Background: Most reports of patients undergoing resection for pancreatic adenocarcinoma report estimated (actuarial) 5-year survival rates. Actual 5-year survival is rarely described, and factors associated with long-term survival are not well described.
Methods: Review of a prospectively maintained database identified 618 patients who underwent resection for pancreatic adenocarcinoma between 1/1983-1/2001. Patient, tumor, and treatment-related variables were assessed for their association with 5-year survival.
Results: There were 75 patients who survived >5 years after resection (75 out of 618, 12%), and 18 patients who survived >10 years (18 out of 352, 5%). Patient age, gender, and tumor location were not associated with 5-year survival, whereas early American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage (p < 0.001) and negative margins (p = 0.001) were associated with 5-year survival. Patients with stage IA disease had an actual 5 year survival of 26%. Median follow-up was 108 months. Recurrent disease developed in 38 patients (51%) and all died from disease. Adjuvant therapy was received by 21% (16 out of 75), and tumors were moderately differentiated in 58% (42 out of 75) and had a median size of 2.8 cm (0.8-13 cm).
Conclusions: Actual 5-year survival after resection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma was 12%. AJCC stage and negative margins were the only significant predictors of long-term survival. Early detection and intervention for patients with pancreatic cancer is crucial.