5 years ago

Redefining the Positive Margin in Pancreatic Cancer: Impact on Patterns of Failure, Long-Term Survival and Adjuvant Therapy

Richard Tuli, Quanlin Li, Andrew Eugene Hendifar, Deepti Dhall, Arsen Osipov, Jason Naziri, Nicholas Nissen, Joanne Rutgers, Shefali Chopra



There is debate regarding the definition and clinical significance of margin clearance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). A comprehensive archival analysis of surgical resection margins was performed to determine the effect on locoregional recurrence and survival, and the impact of adjuvant therapy in PDA.


We identified 105 patients with resected PDA. Pancreatic, anterior, bile duct, and posterior surgical resection margins (PM; posterior surface, uncinate and vascular groove) were identified. Three pathologists reviewed all archival surgical specimens and recategorized each margin as tumor at ink/transected, <0.5, 0.5–1, >1–2, or >2 mm from the inked surface. The impact of these and other clinical variables was assessed on local control, disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS).


Among all margins, PM clearance up to 2 mm was prognostic of DFS (p = 0.01) and OS (p = 0.01). Dichotomizing the PM at 2 mm revealed it to be an independent predictor of local recurrence-free survival [hazard ratio HR] 0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.048–0.881, p = 0.033), DFS (HR 0.46, 95% CI 0.22–0.96, p = 0.03), and OS (HR 0.31, 95% CI 0.14–0.74, p = 0.008). A margin status of >2 mm was also prognostic of OS in patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy (HR 0.31, 95% CI 0.11–0.89, p = 0.03), however this difference was mitigated in patients receiving adjuvant chemoradiotherapy (HR 0.40, 95% CI 0.10–1.58, p = 0.19).


These data highlight the clinical significance of the PM and the lack of significance of other resection margins. Clearance in excess of 2 mm should be considered to improve long-term clinical outcomes. The use of adjuvant radiotherapy should be strongly considered in patients with PMs <2 mm.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1245/s10434-017-6076-z

DOI: 10.1245/s10434-017-6076-z

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