Laparoscopic versus open distal pancreatectomy for ductal adenocarcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Gastrointest Surg. 2015 Apr;19(4):770-81. doi: 10.1007/s11605-014-2721-z. Epub 2015 Jan 6.


Background: Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy was proposed as an oncologically safe approach for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Methods: A systematic review of the studies comparing laparoscopic and open distal pancreatectomy was conducted. The primary endpoint was an R0 resection rate. The secondary endpoints were intra- and postoperative results, tumour size, mean harvested lymph node, number of patients eligible for adjuvant therapy and overall survival.

Results: Five comparative case control studies involving 261 patients (30.7% laparoscopic and 69.3% open) who underwent a distal pancreatectomy were included. The R0 resection rate was similar between the two groups (P = 0.53). The laparoscopic group had longer operative times (P = 0.04), lesser blood loss (P = 0.01), a shorter hospital stay (P < 0.001) and smaller tumour size (P = 0.04) as compared with the laparotomic group. Overall morbidity, postoperative pancreatic fistula, reoperation, mortality and number of patients eligible for adjuvant therapy were similar. The mean harvested lymph nodes were comparable in the two groups (P = 0.33). The laparoscopic approach did not affect the overall survival rate (P = 0.32).

Conclusion: Even if the number of patients compared is underpowered, the laparoscopic approach in the treatment of PDAC seems to be safe and efficacious. However, additional prospective, randomised, multicentric trials are needed to correctly evaluate the laparoscopic approach in PDAC.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Pancreatectomy / methods*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*