Age Influences Likelihood of Pancreatic Cancer Treatment, but not Outcome

Andrew A. Wheeler, Michael B. Nicholl


Background: Pancreatic cancer (PanCA) is predominantly diagnosed in elderly patients; nevertheless, a significant number of young patients are affected. We hypothesized more aggressive treatment of young PanCA patients would result in better overall survival (OS).


Methods: A retrospective review of our institutional cancer database identified subjects for inclusion. Age 50 years was selected to stratify patients into age groups.


Results: Of 309 PanCA patients, 54 (17%) w<= 50 years old. Exocrine cancer was the most common histology (90%). Patients <= 50 years old were more likely to have endocrine cancer (22% vs. 7%, P = 0.001). There was no difference in stage or curative intent surgery between age groups. Despite patie<= 50 years old receiving more chemotherapy (61% vs. 41%, P = 0.007) and radiotherapy (28% vs. 15%, P = 0.03), there was no difference in OS (24.1 months vs. 14.1 months, P = 0.08). When only exocrine cancers were considered, there was no difference between young and old patients regarding stage, grade, location or surgery. Exocrine cancer patients <= 50 years old received more chemotherapy (67% vs. 42%, P = 0.003) and radiation therapy (36% vs. 17%, P = 0.004), but there was no difference in OS.


Conclusions: A substantial number of PanCA patients are <= 50 years old. Patients <= 50 years old received more treatment but did not have improved OS. Significant improvements in PanCA survival await development of new treatment strategies.

World J Oncol. 2014;5(1):7-13



Cancer of pancreas; Surgery; Chemotherapy; Radiotherapy

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