Pancreatic cancer. The need for critical reassessment

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1996 Jul;23(1):2-6. doi: 10.1097/00004836-199607000-00002.


A review of results of 60 years of resections for pancreatic cancer reveals no consistency in reporting. Resected survivors have been reported up to seven times, even from different countries, and nonresected survivors are overlooked. The claimed 5-year survival rate of 30-55% is achieved by reducing the subset on which calculations are based and using methods such as the Kaplan-Meier, which lead to higher figures the more patients are lost to followup (censored). The excess cost of resection versus bypass can be expected to be ca. $150,000, with one in 30 patients living for 5 years. The overall survival rate is < 0.4%; the best proven surgical result is 3.6% and the best nonsurgical result is 1.7%. Resections have had no discernible impact on survival.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / economics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Survival Rate