Background Hepatic artery lymph node (HALN) metastasis in pancreatic adenocarcinoma reportedly confers a survival disadvantage. This has led some authors to propose it as an indicator against pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD).
Methods Consecutive patients who underwent PD during 2002-2012 were identified from the University of Louisville prospective hepatopancreaticobiliary database. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were estimated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. The log-rank test and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression were used in further analyses.
Results A total of 420 patients underwent PD during the period of study, of whom 197 had lymph node (LN) metastasis. Among these, 41 (20.8%) patients had disease-positive HALNs. The HALN was the only site of LN metastasis in only three of the 247 patients (1.2%). Median follow-up was 18.5 months (interquartile range: 4.1-28.2 months). Median OS and DFS were 22.7 months [95% confidence interval (CI) 19.0-26.3] and 12.6 months (95% CI 10.2-15.2). There was no significant difference in median OS between HALN-positive patients (18.4 months, 95% CI 12.3-24.0) and HALN-negative patients (19.7 months, 95% CI 16.7-22.6) (P = 0.659). On multivariate analysis, the hazard ratio (HR) of death was highest among patients with an LN ratio of >0.2 (HR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.29; P = 0.012) followed by those with poorly differentiated histology (HR 1.09, 95% CI 1.04-1.11; P = 0.029).
Conclusions In pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients with LN disease, survival after PD is comparable regardless of HALN status. Therefore, HALN-positive disease should not preclude the performance of PD.
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