Routine portal vein resection for pancreatic adenocarcinoma shows no benefit in overall survival

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2018 Jul;44(7):1094-1099. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 9.


Background: Extended pancreatic resections including resections of the portal (PV) may nowadays be performed safely. Limitations in distinguishing tumor involvement from inflammatory adhesions however lead to portal vein resections (PVR) without evidence of tumor infiltration in the final histopathological examination. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of these "false negative" resections on operative outcome and long-term survival.

Methods: 40 patients who underwent pancreatic resection with PVR for pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PA) without tumor infiltration of the PV (PVR-group) were identified. In a 1:3 match these patients were compared to 120 patients after standard pancreatic resection without PVR (SPR-group) with regard to operative outcome and overall survival.

Results: Survival analysis revealed that median survival was significantly shorter in the PVR group (311 days) as compared to the SPR group (558 days), (p = 0.0011, hazard ratio 1.98, 95% CI: 1.31-2.98). Also postoperative complications ≥ Clavien III occurred significantly more often in the PVR group (37.5% vs. 20.8%).

Conclusions: Radical resection affords the best chance for long-term survival in patients with PA. Based on the results of this study a routine resection of the PV as recently proposed may however not be recommended.

Keywords: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma; Pancreatic resection; Routine portal vein resection; Surgical radicality; True tumor infiltration.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatectomy / methods*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Portal Vein / pathology
  • Portal Vein / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate