A retrospective analysis of factors influencing short-term and long-term survival after total pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer was done in 86 patients. Among the 41 factors studied, hospital mortality was significantly affected by age over 70 years, preoperative diabetes, pain as presenting symptom, S-bilirubin, preoperative bile drainage, prophylactic antibiotic treatment, stage of the tumor, and experience of the surgeon. The only factors which had a statistically significant influence on long-term survival were stage of the tumor and sex of the patient. It is concluded that improvement of long-term survival can mainly be achieved by earlier identification and removal of the tumors and by introduction of more efficient adjuvant therapy. Whereas these goals probably will require a long time to be reached, the majority of factors associated with worsening of hospital mortality may be avoided by a strict selection of the patient, the tumor and the surgeon.