INTRODUCTION: Adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) can prolong overall survival (OS) after pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, fitness for AC may be influenced by postoperative recovery. We aimed to investigate if serious (Clavien-Dindo grade ≥ IIIa) postoperative complications affected AC rates, disease recurrence and OS.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were extracted from the Recurrence After Whipple's (RAW) study (n = 1484), a retrospective study of PD outcomes (29 centres from eight countries). Patients who died within 90-days of PD were excluded. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to compare OS in those receiving or not receiving AC, and those with and without serious postoperative complications. The groups were then compared using univariable and multivariable tests.

RESULTS: Patients who commenced AC (vs no AC) had improved OS (median difference: (MD): 201 days), as did those who completed their planned course of AC (MD: 291 days, p < 0.0001). Those who commenced AC were younger (mean difference: 2.7 years, p = 0.0002), more often (preoperative) American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) grade I-II (74% vs 63%, p = 0.004) and had less often experienced a serious postoperative complication (10% vs 18%, p = 0.002). Patients who developed a serious postoperative complication were less often ASA grade I-II (52% vs 73%, p = 0.0004) and less often commenced AC (58% vs 74%, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSION: In our multicentre study of PD outcomes, PDAC patients who received AC had improved OS, and those who experienced a serious postoperative complication commenced AC less frequently. Selected high-risk patients may benefit from targeted preoperative optimisation and/or neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106919
JournalClinical Oncology
Issue number9
Early online date19 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Adjuvant chemotherapy
  • Morbidity
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Pancreatic ductal carcinoma
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy
  • Postoperative complications
  • Humans
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal/drug therapy
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy/adverse effects
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/drug therapy
  • Postoperative Complications/epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms/drug therapy

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