Accurate Nodal Staging in Pancreatic Cancer in the Era of Neoadjuvant Therapy

Ammar A. Javed, Ding Ding, Erum Baig, Michael J. Wright, Jonathan A. Teinor, Daniyal Mansoor, Elizabeth Thompson, Ralph H. Hruban, Amol Narang, William R. Burns, Richard A. Burkhart, Kelly Lafaro, Matthew J Weiss, John L. Cameron, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Jin He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nodal disease is prognostic in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); however, optimal number of examined lymph nodes (ELNs) required to accurately stage nodal disease in the current era of neoadjuvant therapy remains unknown. The aim of the study was to evaluate the optimal number of ELNs in patients with neoadjuvantly treated PDAC. Methods: A retrospective study was performed on patients with PDAC undergoing resection following neoadjuvant treatment between 2011 and 2018. Clinicopathological data were extracted and analyzed. Results: Of 546 patients included, 232 (42.5%) had lymph node metastases. The median recurrence free survival (RFS) was 10.6 months (95% confidence interval: 9.7–11.7) and nodal disease was independently associated with shorter RFS (9.1 vs 11.9 months; p < 0.001). A cutoff of 22 ELNs was identified that stratified patients by RFS. Patients with N1 and N2 disease had similar median RFS (9.1 vs 8.9 months; p = 0.410). On multivariable analysis, ELN of ≥ 22 was found to be significantly associated with longer RFS among patients with N0 disease (14.2 vs. 10.9 months, p = 0.046). However, ELN has no impact on RFS for patients with N1/N2 disease (9.5 vs. 8.4 months, p = 0.190). Adjuvant therapy was associated with RFS only in patients with residual nodal disease. Conclusions: Lymph node metastases remain prognostic in PDAC patients after neoadjuvant treatment. Among N0 patients, a cutoff of 22 ELN was associated with improved RFS and resulted in optimal nodal staging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-677
Number of pages11
JournalWorld journal of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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