Does Major Pancreatic Surgery Have Utility in Nonagenarians with Pancreas Cancer?

Rebecca S. Meltzer, David A. Kooby, Jeffrey M. Switchenko, Jashodeep Datta, Darren R. Carpizo, Shishir K. Maithel, Mihir M. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aims to define the role of surgery and assess different therapies for nonagenarians with localized, nonmetastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Methods: The National Cancer Database (NCDB) was queried for patients ≥ 90 years of age with nonmetastatic, localized PDAC from 2004–2016. Postoperative mortality was assessed at 30 and 90 days in patients receiving pancreatoduodenectomy or total pancreatectomy. Overall survival (OS) was compared between three treatment groups: surgery alone, chemotherapy alone, and chemoradiation (chemoRT) alone. Results: Of 380,524 patients with PDAC, 98 patients ≥ 90 years of age underwent curative-intent resection; 55% were female and 75% had a Charlson–Deyo comorbidity score of 0. A total of 17% received postoperative chemotherapy, 51.1% had poorly differentiated tumors with a median tumor size of 3 cm, 55.1% had positive lymph nodes, and 19.4% had positive resection margins. Postoperative median length of stay was 11 days. Postoperative 30- and 90-day mortality was 10.0% and 18.9%, respectively. Median OS for the surgery alone group was 11.6 months compared with 20.4 months in those receiving adjuvant therapy (p = 0.01). Among nonoperative PDAC patients, median OS in patients receiving chemotherapy only (n = 207) was 7.2 months, while chemoRT only (n = 100) was similar to surgery only (11 versus 11.6 months, p = 0.97). Conclusions: Even in well-selected nonagenarians, pancreatoduodenectomy or total pancreatectomy carries a high mortality rate. While adjuvant therapy after resection provides the best survival, it is seldom achieved, and chemoRT alone affords identical survival statistics as surgery alone. These data suggest it is reasonable to consider chemoRT as initial therapy, then reassess candidacy for resection if performance status allows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2265-2272
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Does Major Pancreatic Surgery Have Utility in Nonagenarians with Pancreas Cancer?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this