Pancreas| Volume 168, ISSUE 6, P1003-1014, December 2020

A preoperative risk model for early recurrence after radical resection may facilitate initial treatment decisions concerning the use of neoadjuvant therapy for patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Published:April 19, 2020DOI:



      Neoadjuvant chemotherapy may benefit patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with resectable and borderline disease. Inappropriate use of neoadjuvant therapy, however, may lead to the loss of therapeutic opportunities. Until an effective prediction model of individual drug sensitivity is established, no accurate model exists to help surgeons decide on the appropriate use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We hypothesized that early recurrence in patients undergoing upfront, early resection may be an indication for neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Therefore, we aimed to use preoperative clinical parameters to establish a model of early recurrence to select patients at high risk for neoadjuvant chemotherapy.


      Patients who underwent resection for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma between January 2014 and November 2017 were analyzed retrospectively. After the minimum P-value approach, the patients were divided into three groups: early recurrence, middle recurrence, and late/non-recurrence. Preoperative clinicopathologic factors that could predict early recurrence were included in a Cox proportional hazards regression model for univariate and multivariate analyses. The factors related to early recurrence were included to establish nomogram and decision tree models, which were then validated in 68 patients.


      We found that 235 (72.5%) of 324 patients had recurrence with a median recurrence-free survival of 210 days. The early recurrence, middle recurrence, and late/non-recurrence groups differed in preoperative carbohydrate antigen 19-9 and carcinoembryonic antigen levels, “resectability” on cross-sectional imaging, resection requiring a vascular resection, T stage, tumor size, and adjuvant chemotherapy. The best cutoff value of early recurrence was the first 162 days postoperatively. Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that selected preoperative chief complaints, lymph node enlargement and resectability on cross-sectional imaging, preoperative carbohydrate antigen 19-9 levels >210 kU/L, and a neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio >4.2 were independent predictors for early recurrence.


      We have successfully built a prediction model of early recurrence of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with the optimal cutoff early-recurrence value of 162 days. Our nomogram and decision tree models may be used to select those at high risk for early recurrence to guide preoperative decision-making concerning the use of neoadjuvant therapy in those patients who have “resectable” disease and not only the more classic criteria of borderline resectability.
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