Diminished benefit from resection of cancer of the head of the pancreas in patients of advanced age

Oliver F. Bathe, Humberto Caldera, Kara L. Hamilton, Dido Franceschi, Danny Sleeman, Alan S. Livingstone, Joe U. Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: The incidence of pancreatic cancer is increasing, and an increasing proportion of these patients is older than 65 years. The benefits of resection in the geriatric population, in whom major comorbidity is more likely, are poorly defined. The authors sought to determine the relative benefits of resection of cancer of the head of the pancreas in different age groups, with particular emphasis on the geriatric population. Methods: Between 1983 and 1995, 273 patients presented to the University of Miami for evaluation of noncystic epithelial cancer of the head of the pancreas. Resection was performed in 104 patients, and these patients are the subject of this retrospective review. Mean length of follow-up for surviving patients was 37 ± 24 months. Outcomes were compared in patients <65 years old (group 1, n = 38), 65-74 years old (group 2, n = 47), and >74 years old (group 3, n = 19). Results: Total pancreatectomy was performed in 12 patients and pancreaticoduodenectomy was performed in 92 patients. The overall complication rate was similar in all groups, but major morbidity was highest in group 3 (P = 0.05). Median survival for patients in group 2 was 25.1 months. Survival was significantly shorter in patients from groups 1 and 3 (median survivals 12.4 months and 11.4 months, respectively; P = 0.02). Following control for Hispanic ethnicity, which was also a significant prognostic factor on univariate analysis, only the oldest age group had a significantly shorter survival than the other two groups. Age >74 years and Hispanic ethnicity remained significant after multivariate analysis. Conclusions: Long-term survival after resection is truncated in older patients. This finding and the observation that the major complication rate is higher in the older subgroup emphasize the need to evaluate critically whether older patients should be submitted to radical resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of surgical oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 21 2001


  • Geriatrics
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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