OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to identify patterns of palliative chemotherapy (CTh) and the associated overall survival (OS) in patients with pancreatic cancer, with specific focus on age.
METHODS: Between May 1, 2011, and April 30, 2016, 4260 patients were registered in the Danish Pancreatic Cancer Database. The 1715 patients receiving palliative CTh were retrieved. Age was grouped into less than 70, 70 to less than 75 and 75 years or more.
RESULTS: Of the 1715 patients receiving first-line CTh, 586 (34%) underwent second-line CTh and 151 (9%) third-line CTh. First-line gemcitabine resulted in a significant worse survival compared with combination CTh, hazard ratio 1.51. For combination CTh, OS differed between the age groups, P < 0.01. The median OS in the less than 70 years (n = 547), 70 to less than 75 years (n = 163), and 75 years or more (n = 67) groups were 9.3, 9.6, and 7.2 months, respectively. No differences in survival were observed among patients receiving first-line gemcitabine (P = 0.35).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings are useful in treatment-related decision making in patients with pancreatic cancer. A significant survival benefit was observed for all patients after first-line combination CTh. The effect of combination CTh was most prominent among patients aged less than 75 years. By age, no differences in survival were observed in those receiving gemcitabine.