Axel Richter, Marco Niedergethmann, Dietmar Lorenz, Jörg W. Sturm, Michael Trede and Stefan Post

Resection for Cancers of the Pancreatic Head in Patients Aged 70 Years or Over

From the Department of Surgery, University-Hospital Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany
Eur J Surg 2002; 168: 339-344


Objective: To find out if resections of cancers of the head of pancreatic are justified in patients over the age of 70 years.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: University hospital, Germany.
Subjects: 519 patients with cancers of the pancreatic head, 93 (18%) of  whom  were  aged 70 or over.
Main outcome measures: Comparison of outcomes between those aged 70 or over, and those aged less than 70.
Results: There were 247 ductal adenocarcinomas, 134 carcinomas of the papilla of Vater, 79 carcinomas of the distal common bile duct, and 59 miscellaneous tumors. Of all variables compared (age, sex, symptoms, operations, clinical and pathological stage, morbidity, mortality, and long-term survival) the only significant difference between the groups was that leaks from the pancreaticojejunostomy occurred more often in the older age group (p = 0.02). However, this did not influence overall morbidity or mortality.“
Conclusion: Patients age is not a limiting factor in attempts at curative resection  of cancers of the head of pancreas. If the tumor is resectable and patient is motivated and well enough, resection is indicated whatever the age.