: Background: Despite modern chemotherapy regimens, survival of patients with locally advanced/metastatic pancreatic cancer remains dismal. Long-term survivors are rare and there are no prognostic scores to identify patients benefitting most from chemotherapy.
Methods: This retrospective study includes 240 patients with pancreatic cancer who were treated in a primary palliative setting between the years 2007 to 2016 in a single academic institution. Survival rates were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Prognostic models including laboratory and clinical parameters were calculated using Cox proportional models in univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: Median age at diagnosis was 67 years (range 29-90 years), 52% were female and a majority had an ECOG performance status of 0 or 1. Locally advanced pancreatic cancer was diagnosed in 23.3% (n = 56) and primary metastatic disease in 76.7% (n = 184) of all patients. Median overall survival of the whole study cohort was 8.3 months. Investigating potential risk factors like patient characteristics, tumor marker or inflammatory markers, multivariate survival analysis found CRP (c-reactive protein) and NLR (neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio) elevation before the start of palliative chemotherapy to be independent negative prognostic factors for OS (overall survival) (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01). Grouping patients with no risk factor versus patients with one or two of the above mentioned two risk factors, we found a median OS of 16.8 months and 9.4 months (p < 0.001) respectively. By combining these two factors, we were also able to identify pancreatic cancer patients that were more likely to receive any post first line therapy. These two risk factors are predictive for improved survival independent of disease stage (III or IV) and applied chemotherapy agents in first line.
Conclusion: By combining these two factors, CRP and NLR, to create a score for OS, we propose a simple, new prognostic tool for OS prediction in pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: CRP; Neutrophil/Lymphocytes ratio; OS; pancreatic cancer; prognostais.