Korean J Gastroenterol.  2008 Feb;51(2):89-100.

Surgical Management of Pancreatic Cancer

  • 1Department of Surgery, Ulsan University College of Medicine & Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. drksc@amc.seoul.kr


Pancreatic cancer is a major problematic concern among all forms of gastrointestinal malignancies because of its poor prognosis. Although significant progress has been made in the surgical treatment in terms of increased resection rate and decreased treatment-related morbidity and mortality, the true survival rate still remains below 5% today. Surgical options for pancreatic cancer are based on the its unique anatomy and physiology, catastrophic tumor biology, experience of surgeon, and status of patients. Four main options exist for the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer. These include standard "Whipple" pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD), pylorus preserving PD (PPPD), distal pancreatectomy (left-side pancreatectomy), and total pancreatectomy according to the location of tumor. Portal vein involvement by tumor is regarded as an anatomical extension of disease, and en bloc resection of portal vein with tumor is recommended if technically feasible, which is stated in 2002 AJCC tumor staging for pancreatic cancer. In comparison of the survival rates between standard and extended resection of pancreatic head cancer, no significant survival benefit was demonstrated from the prospective reports. PPPD may be superior to standard PD in respect to nutrition and quality of life without any deleterious effect upon long term survival or tumor recurrence. New surgical treatment modalities including modified extended pancreatectomy, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and radical antegrade modular distal pancreatectomy have been tried to improve the patients' survival. However, early diagnosis and treatment remain as key factors for the cure of pancreatic cancer irrespective of various surgical trials.


Pancreatic cancer; Pancreaticoduodenectomy; Resection; Distal pancreatectomy

MeSH Terms

Neoplasm Staging
Pancreatic Neoplasms/mortality/pathology/*surgery
Portal Vein/pathology/surgery
Survival Rate
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