Resected Early-Onset Pancreatic Cancer: Practices and Outcomes in an International Dual-Center Study

Carl Stephan Leonhardt, Benedict Kinny-Köster, Thomas Hank, Joseph R. Habib, Sami Shoucair, Ulla Klaiber, John L. Cameron, Thilo Hackert, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Markus W. Büchler, Jin He, Oliver Strobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early-onset pancreatic cancer (EOPC), defined as age ≤ 45 years at diagnosis, accounts for 3% of all pancreatic cancer cases. Although differences in tumor biology have been suggested, available data are sparse and specific treatment recommendations are lacking. This study explores the clinicopathological features and oncologic outcomes of resected EOPC. Patients and Methods: Patients with EOPC undergoing resection between 2002 and 2018 were identified from the Heidelberg University Hospital and Johns Hopkins University registries. Median overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were analyzed, and prognostic factors were identified. Results: The final cohort included 164 patients, most of whom had pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC, n = 136; 82.9%) or IPMN-associated pancreatic cancer (n = 17; 10.4%). Twenty (12.1%) patients presented with stage 1 disease, 42 (25.6%) with stage 2, 75 (45.7%) with stage 3, and 22 (13.4%) with oligometastatic stage 4 disease. Most patients underwent upfront resection (n = 113, 68.9%), whereas 51 (31.1%) individuals received preoperative treatment. Median OS and RFS were 26.0 and 12.4 months, respectively. Stage-specific median survival was 70.6, 41.8, 23.8, and 16.9 months for stage 1, 2, 3, and 4 tumors, respectively. Factors independently associated with shorter OS and RFS were R1 resections and AJCC stages 3 and 4. Notably, AJCC 3-N2 and AJCC 3-T4 tumors had a median OS of 20 months versus 29.5 months, respectively. Conclusion: Despite frequently presenting with advanced disease, oncologic outcomes in EOPC patients are satisfactory even in locally advanced cancers, justifying aggressive surgical approaches. Further research is needed to tailor current guidelines to this rare population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2433-2443
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Surgery


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