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Carcinoma of the Body of Pancreas in Evolution: An Aggressive Disease Affecting Younger Patients?

Context Pancreatic body carcinoma has a poor prognosis with advanced disease at presentation. Recent experience at multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings suggests increasing prevalence. Objective Our aim was to determine if introduction of MDT meetings has affected the natural history of this disease. Design Retrospective diagnostic and survival data were collected from 1995 to 2006 at two large teaching hospitals, and divided into preand post 2003 groups (based on MDT introduction). Participants Thirty-one patients with pancreatic body carcinoma (median age at diagnosis 72 years; range 43-87 years). Results Commonest symptoms at presentation were abdominal pain and weight loss. Eight patients (25.8%) were diagnosed pre MDT (median age 71.5 years, range: 60- 87 years) and 23 patients (74.2%) were diagnosed post MDT (median age 67 years, range: 43-85 years; P=0.299 vs. pre MDT). There was a significantly (P=0.024) greater prevalence of more advanced tumours post MDT (stage IV: 15/23, 65.2%) than pre MDT (stage IV: 2/8, 25.0%). Neither tumour markers nor liver biochemistry differentiated tumour stage. Best supportive care was offered to 16 patients (51.6%) while 12 patients (38.7%) were suitable for chemotherapy: 2 out of 8 pre MDT (25.0%) and 10 out of 23 (43.5%) post MDT (P=0.433). For stage III tumours, post MDT patients tended to be younger (median 59 years vs. 74.5 years, P=0.042). Survival was not significantly increased after MDT introduction but chemotherapy offered significant survival benefit on multivariate analysis (P=0.042; hazard ratio: 0.39, 95% CI: 0.16-0.97). Conclusion The trend is towards increased prevalence of pancreatic body cancer and more advanced disease at presentation. Chemotherapy was associated with a survival benefit, although the introduction of the MDT has not significantly altered disease management.


Karen J Dickinson, Jay A Gokhale, Jon R Ausobsky, Andrew Lowe, Dhanwant Gomez, Pierre J Guillou, Sakhawat H Rahman

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