Publication Abstract

Authors: Sheffield KM, Crowell KT, Lin YL, Djukom C, Goodwin JS, Riall TS

Title: Surveillance of pancreatic cancer patients after surgical resection.

Journal: Ann Surg Oncol 19(5):1670-7

Date: 2012 May

Abstract: BACKGROUND: There are no clear recommendations to guide posttreatment surveillance in patients with pancreatic cancer. Our goal was to describe the posttreatment surveillance patterns in patients undergoing curative-intent resection for pancreatic cancer. METHODS: We used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data (1992-2005) to identify CT scans and physician visits in patients with pancreatic cancer who underwent curative resection (n = 2393). Surveillance began 90 days after surgery, and patients were followed for 2 years at 6-month intervals. Patients were censored if they died, experienced recurrence of disease, or entered hospice. RESULTS: A total of 2045 patients survived uncensored to the beginning of the surveillance period. CT scan use decreased from 20.9% of patients in month 4 to 6.4% in month 27. There was no temporal pattern in CT use to suggest regular surveillance. Twenty-three percent of patients did not receive a CT scan in the year after surgery, increasing to 42% the second year. Patients who underwent adjuvant therapy and patients diagnosed in later years had higher CT scan use over the surveillance periods. Most patients visited both a primary care physician and a cancer specialist in each 6-month surveillance period. Patients who visited cancer specialists were more likely to have any CT scan and to be scanned more frequently. CONCLUSIONS: Current surveillance patterns after resection for pancreatic cancer reflect the lack of established guidelines, implying a need for evaluation and standardization of surveillance protocols. The lack of a temporal pattern in CT testing suggests that most were obtained to evaluate symptoms rather than for routine surveillance.