Palliative Bypass Surgery for Patients With Advanced Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: Experience From a Tertiary Center

World J Surg Oncol. 2020 Apr 1;18(1):63. doi: 10.1186/s12957-020-01828-5.


Background: As advances in oncological treatment continue to prolong the survival of patients with non-resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), decision-making regarding palliative surgical bypass in patients with a heavy disease burden turns challenging. Here we present the results of a pancreatic surgery referral center.

Methods: Patients that underwent palliative gastrojejunostomy and/or hepaticojejunostomy for advanced, non-resectable PDAC between January 2010 and November 2018 were retrospectively assessed. All patients were taken to a purely palliative surgery with no curative intent. The postoperative course as well as short and long-term outcomes was evaluated in relation to preoperative parameters.

Results: Forty-two patients (19 females) underwent palliative bypass. Thirty-one underwent only gastrojejunostomy (22 laparoscopic) and 11 underwent both gastrojejunostomy and hepaticojejunostomy (all by an open approach). Although 34 patients (80.9%) were able to return temporarily to oral intake during the index admission, 15 (35.7%) suffered from a major postoperative complication. Seven patients (16.6%) died from surgery and another seven within the following month. Nine patients (21.4%) never left the hospital following the surgery. Mean length of hospital stay was 18 ± 17 days (range 3-88 days). Mean overall survival was 172.8 ± 179.2 and median survival was 94.5 days. Age, preoperative hypoalbuminemia, sarcopenia, and disseminated disease were associated with palliation failure, defined as inability to regain oral intake, leave the hospital, or early mortality.

Conclusions: Although palliative gastrojejunostomy and hepaticojejunostomy may be beneficial for specific patients, severe postoperative morbidity and high mortality rates are still common. Patient selection remains crucial for achieving acceptable outcomes.

Keywords: Bypass surgery; Gastrojejunostomy; Hepaticojejunostomy; Palliation.