Comparison of outcomes and the use of multimodality therapy in young and elderly people undergoing surgical resection of pancreatic cancer

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Feb;60(2):344-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03785.x. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


Objectives: To compare outcomes and the use of multimodality therapy in young and elderly people with pancreatic cancer undergoing surgical resection.

Design: Retrospective, single-institution study.

Setting: National Cancer Institute/National Comprehensive Cancer Network cancer center.

Participants: Two hundred three individuals who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy for pancreatic adenocarcinoma at Duke University Medical Center comprised the study population. Participants were divided into three groups based on age (<65, n = 97; 65-74, n = 74; ≥75, N = 32).

Measurements: Perioperative outcomes, the use of multimodality therapy, and overall survival of the different age groups were compared.

Results: Similar rates of perioperative mortality and morbidity were observed in all age groups, but elderly adults were more likely to be discharged to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility. A similar proportion of participants received neoadjuvant therapy, but a smaller proportion of elderly participants received adjuvant therapy. Overall survival was similar between the age groups. Predictors of poorer overall survival included coronary artery disease, positive resection margin, and less-differentiated tumor histology. Treatment with neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy were predictors of better overall survival.

Conclusion: Carefully selected elderly individuals experience similar perioperative outcomes and overall survival to those of younger individuals after resection of pancreatic cancer. There appears to be a significant disparity in the use of adjuvant therapy between young and elderly individuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome