Objective: To analyze relative perioperative and long-term outcomes of patients undergoing total pancreatectomy versus pancreaticoduodenectomy.
Background: The role of total pancreatectomy has historically been limited due to concerns over increased morbidity, mortality, and perceived worse long-term outcome.
Methods: Between 1970 and 2007, patients who underwent total pancreatectomy (n = 100) or pancreaticoduodenectomy (n = 1286) for adenocarcinoma were identified. Clinicopathologic, morbidity, and survival data were collected and analyzed.
Results: Total pancreatectomy patients had larger median tumor size (4 cm vs. 3 cm; P < 0.001) but similar rates of vascular (50.0% vs. 54.7%) and perineural invasion (90.7% vs. 91.8%) (total pancreatectomy vs. pancreaticoduodenectomy, respectively, both P > 0.05). A similar proportion of total pancreatectomy (74.7%) and pancreaticoduodenectomy (78.3%) patients had N1 disease (P = 0.45). Total pancreatectomy patients had more lymph nodes harvested (27 vs. 16) and were less likely to have positive resection margins (22.2% vs. 43.7%) (total pancreatectomy vs. pancreaticoduodenectomy, respectively, both P < 0.0001). Total pancreatectomy was increasingly used over time (1970–1989, n = 10, 1990–1999, n = 37, 2000–2007, n = 53). Total pancreatectomy was associated with higher 30-day mortality compared with pancreaticoduodenectomy (8.0% vs. 1.5%, respectively; P = 0.0007). However, total pancreatectomy operative mortality decreased over time (1970–1989, 40%; 1990–1999, 8%; 2000–2007, 2%; P = 0.0002). While operative morbidity was higher following total pancreatectomy (69.0% vs. 38.6% for pancreaticoduodenectomy; P < 0.0001), most complications were minor (Clavien Grade 1–2) (59%). Total pancreatectomy and pancreaticoduodenectomy patients had comparable 5-year survival (18.9% vs. 18.5%, respectively, P = 0.32).
Conclusions: Total pancreatectomy perioperative mortality dramatically decreased over time. Long-term survival following total pancreatectomy versus pancreaticoduodenectomy was equivalent. Total pancreatectomy should be performed when oncologically appropriate.