BACKGROUND: Nationwide register data on the effect of primary treatment on survival in an unselected population of patients with pancreatic cancer (PC) have not been reported before. The study aim was to investigate the overall survival (OS) related to initial treatment with resection, chemotherapy, or best supportive care (BSC) in all patients diagnosed with PC in Denmark from 2011 to 2016.
METHODS: From 1 May 2011 to 30 April 2016, 4260 patients with PC were identified in the Danish Pancreatic Cancer Database. Ninety-seven patients (2%) were excluded, 56 because of treatment with preoperative chemotherapy, 39 because of incorrect registration of diagnosis or treatment, and 2 because of loss to follow-up; thus, 4163 patients were included.
RESULTS: The 718 patients (17%) receiving resection had a median overall survival (mOS) of 21.9 months (range 20.0-24.2). In the chemotherapy group of 1746 patients (42%), those treated with FOLFIRINOX had the longest mOS of 10.0 months (9.2-11.0), whereas those treated with gemcitabine had the shortest mOS of 5.1 months (4.8-5.6). The 1697 patients (41%) receiving BSC had a mOS of only 1.6 months (1.5-1.7).
CONCLUSIONS: The resected PC cohort had an OS comparable with that reported in randomised controlled trials (RCTs). The mOS of the chemotherapy-treated patients was slightly shorter compared with the results from RCTs and reflects the unselected population in this study. During the last decade, a larger fraction of patients received anticancer treatment, but the BSC group was still large and showed extremely poor OS.