Primary care vs. oncology-driven surveillance following adjuvant chemotherapy in resected pancreas cancer. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • e18163 Background: No standard surveillance strategy exists following resection of pancreas cancer. Our aims were to describe patterns of surveillance and to evaluate their impact on outcomes. Methods: Patients who received at least one cycle of adjuvant gemcitabine or 5-fluorouracil monotherapy at any 1 of 5 cancer centers in British Columbia from 2004 to 2015 were included. Surveillance was divided into two groups: discharged to primary care physicians (PCP) or follow up with oncologists (ONC) that included regular clinical assessments, laboratory testing and/or imaging. Results: We identified 147 patients. Median age at diagnosis was 64 (range 38-85) years and 48% were men. More patients were followed by ONC than PCP (66% vs. 44%). ONC were more likely to follow patients with T3/4 (78% vs. 62%, P = 0.03), while all other prognostic factors were balanced between the two groups. At the time of analysis, 68% of patients had a documented recurrence and 59% died. The median overall survival (OS) was 2.82 (95% CI 2.17-3.32) years in the ONC group and 3.35 (95% CI 2.85-5.06) years in the PCP group while the median relapse free survival (RFS) was 1.4 (95% CI 1.37-1.77) and 2.4 (95% CI 2.07-4.59) years, respectively. On multivariate analysis, there was no significant difference in OS between ONC and PCP-driven surveillance (HR 1.23; 95% CI 0.74-2.04, P = 0.4); however, RFS favored the PCP group (HR 1.62; 95% CI 1.01-2.56, P = 0.04, for oncology). On recurrence, 51% of patients received chemotherapy where the most common first line regimens were FOLFIRINOX (21%) and Gemcitabine/Nab-paclitaxel (20%). Patients followed by ONC were more likely to receive chemotherapy on recurrence than those followed by PCP (58% vs. 34%, respectively, P = 0.03), however, there was no difference in survival after recurrence between PCP & ONC (recurrence to death, 5.7 vs 8.9 months, respectively (P = 0.21). Conclusions: Surveillance tests and imaging performed by ONC detected recurrences earlier and correlated with a higher likelihood of aggressive therapy when compared to follow up by PCPs, but this did not result in OS differences. PCPs may have a larger role in the follow up care of selected patients with resected pancreas cancer.


  • Samawi, Haider
  • Yin, Yaling
  • Lim, Howard John
  • Renouf, Daniel John
  • Cheung, Winson Y

publication date

  • May 20, 2017