Background: Current methods to predict survival duration of patients with pancreatic cancer are limited. The aim of this study was to determine whether certain nutritional indices and the acute-phase protein response are prognostic factors independent of disease stage for patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer.
Methods: Variables at the time of diagnosis of 102 patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer were entered into a Cox's proportional hazards model. Included in the analysis were the serum concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP) and albumin, the extent of weight loss, age, sex, and disease stage (International Union Against Cancer criteria).
Results: A multivariate analysis in which each factor was adjusted for the influence of the other factors revealed the patient age, disease stage, serum albumin, and serum CRP to be independent predictors of survival. The presence of an acute-phase protein response was the most significant independent predictors of survival duration. The median survival of those with an acute-phase protein response (CRP > 10 mg/L, n = 45) was 66 days compared with 222 days for those with no acute-phase protein response (n = 57, P = 0.001, Mann-Whitney U test).
Conclusion: The acute-phase protein response is a useful prognostic indicator for patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer. Moreover, the metabolic disturbances associated with an acute-phase protein response of patients with pancreatic cancer may be a worthwhile therapeutic target.