Background: We conducted a population-based study to investigate long-term survival in patients diagnosed with a (suspected) pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Methods: All patients diagnosed with a pancreatic adenocarcinoma or with a pathologically unverified tumour of the pancreas between 1993 and 2008 in the South of the Netherlands were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR). Medical charts of patients who were alive five years or longer since diagnosis were reviewed.
Results: A total of 2 564 patients were included, of whom 1 365 had a pancreatic adenocarcinoma and 1 199 had a pathologically unverified pancreatic tumour. Five-year survival of patients with pathologically verified adenocarcinomas was 1.7% (24 of 1 365 patients). Twenty-one-one of these 24 long-term survivors were among the 207 cases that underwent surgical resection as initial treatment; five-year survival after resection thus being 10.1%. Half of the long-term survivors who underwent surgical resection still eventually died of recurrent disease. Five-year survival among patients with clinically suspected but microscopically unverified pancreatic tumours was 1.3% (16 of 1 199 patients). In 15 of these 16 long-term survivors the initial clinical diagnosis was revised: 14 had benign disease and one a premalignant tumour.
Conclusions: Long-term survival among patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma is extremely rare. As long-term survival in clinically suspected but pathologically unverified cancer is very unlikely, repeated fine needle aspiration or, preferably, histological biopsy is recommended in order to establish an alternative diagnosis in patients who survive longer than expected (more than 6-12 months).,
Acta Oncologica
Department of Public Health

Zijlstra, M, Bernards, N, de Hingh, I.H.J.T, van de Wouw, A.J, Goey, S.H, Jacobs, E.M.G, … Creemers, G.J.M. (2016). Does long-term survival exist in pancreatic adenocarcinoma?. Acta Oncologica, 55(3), 259–264. doi:10.3109/0284186X.2015.1096020