Does long-term survival in patients with pancreatic cancer really exist? Results from the CONKO-001 study

J Surg Oncol. 2013 Nov;108(6):398-402. doi: 10.1002/jso.23409. Epub 2013 Aug 23.


Background: Long-term survival (LTS) in patients (pts) with pancreatic cancer is still uncommon, little data is available to identify long-term survivors. The CONKO-001 study, which established gemcitabine after resection as adjuvant therapy, may provide data to answer this question.

Methods: CONKO-001 pts with an overall survival ≥5 years were compared to those who survived <5 years. Central re-evaluation of primary histology was performed. Univariate analysis with the χ(2) -test identified qualifying factors. Logistic regression was used to investigate the influence of these covariates on LTS.

Results: Of the evaluable 354 CONKO-001 pts, 54 (15%) with an overall survival ≥5 years were identified. It was possible to obtain tumor specimens of 39 pts (72%). Histological re-evaluation confirmed adenocarcinoma in 38 pts, 1 showed a high-grade neuroendocrine tumor. Univariate analysis for all 53 LTS pts with adenocarcinoma compared to the remaining 300 non-LTS pts revealed as relevant active treatment, tumor grading, tumor size, lymph nodes. No significance could be demonstrated for resection margin, sex, age, Karnofsky performance status, CA 19-9 at study entry. In multivariate analysis, tumor grading, active treatment, tumor size, lymph node involvement were independent prognostic factors for LTS.

Conclusion: Long-term survival can be achieved in adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

Keywords: adjuvant therapy; gemcitabine; rate of cure.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gemcitabine
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Deoxycytidine
  • Gemcitabine