Patterns, Timing, and Predictors of Recurrence Following Pancreatectomy for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Ann Surg. 2018 May;267(5):936-945. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002234.


Objective: To describe accurately the pattern, timing, and predictors of disease recurrence after a potentially curative resection for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Summary background data: After surgery for PDAC, most patients will develop disease recurrence. Understanding the patterns and timing of disease failure can help guide improvements in therapy.

Methods: Patients who underwent pancreatectomy for PDAC at the Johns Hopkins Hospital between 2000 and 2010 were included. Exclusion criteria were incomplete follow-up records, follow-up <24 months, and neoadjuvant therapy. The first recurrence site was recorded and recurrence-free survival (RFS) was estimated using Kaplan-Meier curves. Predictive factors for specific recurrence patterns were assessed by univariate and multivariate analyses using Cox-proportional hazard regression models.

Results: From the identified cohort of 1103 patients, 692 patients had comprehensive and detailed follow-up data available. At a median follow-up of 25.3 months, 531 (76.7%) of the 692 had recurred after a median RFS of 11.7 months. Most patients recurred at isolated distant sites (n = 307, 57.8%), while isolated local recurrence was seen in 126 patients (23.7%). Liver-only recurrence (n = 134, 25.2%) tended to occur early (median 6.9 mo), while lung-only recurrence (n = 78, 14.7%) occurred later (median 18.6 mo). A positive lymph node ratio >0.2 was a strong predictor for all distant disease recurrence. Patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy had fewer recurrences and a longer RFS of 18.0 and 17.2 months, respectively.

Conclusions: Specific recurrence locations have different predictive factors and possess distinct RFS curves, supporting the hypothesis that unique biological differences exist among tumors leading to distinct patterns of recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatectomy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors