Anatomic Criteria Determine Resectability in Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Ann Surg Oncol. 2022 Jan;29(1):401-414. doi: 10.1245/s10434-021-10663-1. Epub 2021 Aug 27.


Background: The introduction of multi-agent chemotherapy and radiation therapy has facilitated potential resection with curative intent in selected locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) patients with excellent outcomes. Nevertheless, there remains a remarkable lack of consensus on the management of LAPC. We sought to describe the outcomes of patients with LAPC and objectively define the multidisciplinary selection process for operative exploration based on anatomical factors.

Methods: Consecutive patients with LAPC were evaluated for pancreatic surgery in the multidisciplinary clinic of a high-volume institution, between 2013 and 2018. Prospective stratification (LAPC-1, LAPC-2, and LAPC-3), based on the involvement of regional anatomical structures, was performed at the time of presentation prior to the initiation of treatment. Resection rates and patient outcomes were evaluated and correlated with the initial anatomic stratification system.

Results: Overall, 415 patients with LAPC were included in the study, of whom 84 (20%) were successfully resected, with a median overall survival of 35.3 months. The likelihood of operative exploration was associated with the pretreatment anatomic LAPC score, with a resection rate of 49% in patients classified as LAPC-1, 32% in LAPC-2, and 11% in LAPC-3 (p < 0.001). Resected patients with improvement of the LAPC score at the time of exploration had significantly longer median overall survival compared with those with no change or progression of LAPC score (60.7 vs. 29.8 months, p = 0.006).

Conclusions: Selected patients with LAPC can undergo curative-intent surgery with excellent outcomes. The proposed Johns Hopkins anatomic LAPC score provides an objective system to anticipate the probability of eventual surgical resection after induction therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Studies*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Prospective Studies