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The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic role of diagnostic delay and clinical presentation (regarding pain, jaundice, and weight loss) in pancreatic carcinoma. One hundred and seventy patients with pancreatic cancer were diagnosed and treated in the decade 2001-2010 (100 males and 70 females, with a mean age of 65.8 years [range, 36-91]). Patients were staged with spiral computed tomography and 75% were found to have advanced disease (28 stage III, 99 stage IV disease). Ductal adenocarcinoma was diagnosed in 147 cases, other subtypes of carcinoma in the remaining 23. Fifty patients were operated with radical intent, 19 had palliative surgery, 101 were considered inoperable because of advanced disease or heavy anesthesiologic risk; 31 of these inoperable patients underwent biliary decompression by insertion of an endoluminal or percutaneous stent. Gemcitabine-containing regimens were administered to 143 patients and radiotherapy was combined in 19. Overall and relative survival were the parameters studied. Multivariate analysis was performed by multiple regressions applied to proportional-hazards model. From all the clinical, pathological and therapeutical factors evaluated the statistically significant ones were time to diagnosis and surgery. Among symptoms pain was related to the shortest mean time to diagnosis, weight loss to the longest, with corresponding differences in survival. These differences of observed survival were substantially confirmed in terms of relative survival. The poor prognosis of pancreatic carcinoma seems to depend, in part, on diagnostic delay and this, in turn, is influenced by the type of presenting symptoms. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Paolo G Gobbi, Manuela Bergonzi, Mario Comelli, Lara Villano, Donatella Pozzoli, Alessandro Vanoli, Paolo Dionigi. The prognostic role of time to diagnosis and presenting symptoms in patients with pancreatic cancer. Cancer epidemiology. 2013 Apr;37(2):186-90

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PMID: 23369450

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