Impact of complications after resection of pancreatic cancer on disease recurrence and survival, and mediation effect of adjuvant chemotherapy: nationwide, observational cohort study

A.C. Henry, J.C. van Dongen, I.W.J.M. van Goor, F.J. Smits, A. Nagelhout, M.G. Besselink, O.R. Busch, B.A. Bonsing, K. Bosscha, R.M. van Dam, S. Festen, B.G. Koerkamp, E. van der Harst, I.H. de Hingh, M. van der Kolk, M.S.L. Liem, V.E. de Meijer, G.A. Patijn, D. Roos, J.M. SchreinemakersF. Wit, L.A. Daamen, H.C. van Santvoort, I.Q. Molenaar, C.H.J. van Eijck*, Dutch Pancreatic Cancer Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background The causal pathway between complications after pancreatic cancer resection and impaired long-term survival remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of complications after pancreatic cancer resection on disease-free interval and overall survival, with adjuvant chemotherapy as a mediator. Methods This observational study included all patients undergoing pancreatic cancer resection in the Netherlands (2014-2017). Clinical data were extracted from the prospective Dutch Pancreatic Cancer Audit. Recurrence and survival data were collected additionally. In causal mediation analysis, direct and indirect effect estimates via adjuvant chemotherapy were calculated. Results In total, 1071 patients were included. Major complications (hazards ratio 1.22 (95 per cent c.i. 1.04 to 1.43); P = 0.015 and hazards ratio 1.25 (95 per cent c.i. 1.08 to 1.46); P = 0.003) and organ failure (hazards ratio 1.86 (95 per cent c.i. 1.32 to 2.62); P < 0.001 and hazards ratio 1.89 (95 per cent c.i. 1.36 to 2.63); P < 0.001) were associated with shorter disease-free interval and overall survival respectively. The effects of major complications and organ failure on disease-free interval (-1.71 (95 per cent c.i. -2.27 to -1.05) and -3.05 (95 per cent c.i. -4.03 to -1.80) respectively) and overall survival (-1.92 (95 per cent c.i. -2.60 to -1.16) and -3.49 (95 per cent c.i. -4.84 to -2.03) respectively) were mediated by adjuvant chemotherapy. Additionally, organ failure directly affected disease-free interval (-5.38 (95 per cent c.i. -9.27 to -1.94)) and overall survival (-6.32 (95 per cent c.i. -10.43 to -1.99)). In subgroup analyses, the association was found in patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy, but not in patients undergoing distal pancreatectomy. Conclusion Major complications, including organ failure, negatively impact survival in patients after pancreatic cancer resection, largely mediated by adjuvant chemotherapy. Prevention or adequate treatment of complications and use of neoadjuvant treatment may improve oncological outcomes.This nationwide observational cohort study included 1052 patients and showed that major complications, including organ failure, have a negative impact on disease-free interval and overall survival after resection of pancreatic cancer. This effect was largely mediated by the use of adjuvant chemotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberzrac174
Number of pages11
JournalBJS Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2023



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