Objective: To evaluate the morbidity of pancreaticoduodenectomy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for resectable pancreatic cancer and to assess its histologic and metabolic response.
Background: Adjuvant chemotherapy improves the outcome of pancreatic cancer, but 25% of patients remain unfit after surgery. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy can be offered to all patients in a multimodality approach, but its efficacy and surgical morbidity are unknown.
Methods: Patients with resectable, cytologically proven adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head received 4 bi-weekly cycles of gemcitabine (1000 mg/m(2)) and cisplatin (50 mg/m(2)) in this prospective phase II trial. Staging and restaging included chest x-ray, abdominal computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET)/CT, endoscopic ultrasound, and laparoscopy. Fluorodeoxyglucose uptake was quantified by the standard-uptake value (SUV) on baseline and restaging PET/CT. Immunohistochemistry for GLUT-1 and Ki-67 was performed. The histologic response, cytopathic effects, and surgical complications were graded by respective scores.
Results: Twenty-four of 28 patients had resection for histologically confirmed adenocarcinoma. The surgical morbidity was low without perioperative death and one pancreatic fistula. Histologic response was documented in 54% and cytopathic effects in 83% of the patients. A significant SUV decrease occurred during chemotherapy (P = 0.031), which correlated with the baseline SUV (P = 0.001), Ki-67 expression (P = 0.016), and histologic response (P = 0.01). Neither the metabolic nor the histologic response was predictive of the median disease-free (9.2 months) or overall survival (26.5 months).
Conclusion: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induced a significant metabolic and histologic response, which was best predicted by PET. Most importantly, surgery after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer was safe.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00490360.