Changes in diagnostic approach and factors affecting treatment and survival of pancreatic carcinoma in a retrospective series over twelve years

C. M. Girelli, G. Reguzzoni, F. Barzaghi, F. Berrino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aims: Identify the following aspects of pancreatic carcinoma: 1) the prevalence of some risk factors, 2) the accuracy of the diagnostic techniques and the pattern of their utilization over the years, 3) the factors affecting the therapeutic choice and mortality. Methods: Retrospective study on all patients with a final diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma seen at the Ospedale di Busto Arsizio, from January 1978 to August 1989. Results: There were 155 patients, 68 ± 11.6 years old, with a 1.2 male to female ratio. Antemortem pathologic confirmation was obtained in 127 cases (82%); 45% were smokers and 45% drinkers. Diabetes mellitus, a history of peptic disease, a past neoplasm and gallstone disease were respectively present in 36.1%, 12.3%, 11% and 8.2% of the cases; 61.9% 23.8% and 9% of the tumors were located respectively in the head, body and tail; 1.3%, 40% and 51.5% were respectively in stage II, III and IV. Ultrasound abdominal scanning and computerized tomography sensitivity were respectively 67.5% and 72.5% (p = NS). In addition, carcinoembryonic antigen, fine needle aspiration biopsy and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography showed respectively a 66.6%, 88.9% and 93% sensitivity. Together the non-invasive imaging procedures dramatically decreased the number of unnecessary exploratory laparotomies over the years (p = 0.005) without changing the stage at diagnosis or survival. Among the tested variables (age, sex, year of diagnosis, past diseases, co-morbidity, location and stage of the tumor), only the head location and a less advanced stage were significantly related to a surgical choice (p <0.001). Overall one-year survival rate was 13.4%, and among the tested variables, only a less advanced stage and the aggressive treatment were associated to a longer survival (p <0.001). Conclusions: The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in patients with pancreatic carcinoma may be higher than previously expected; the wide use of diagnostic imaging, dramatically reduced the number of unnecessary exploratory laparotomies over the years; aggressively treated patients with a less advanced stage have a slight, but significant improvement in survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
JournalTumori
Volume80
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Keywords

  • pancreatic carcinoma
  • risk factors
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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