Isolated Portal Vein Involvement in Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: A Contraindication for Resection?

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This study was designed to examine the morbidity, mortality, and survival of patients undergoing portal vein resection (PVR) for adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

Summary Background Data

Inability to separate the pancreas from the portal vein has historically been a locoregional contraindication for resection in patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, and frequently, isolated local invasion of the portal vein is the only obstacle to curative resection.


A review of the prospective database for adenocarcinoma of the pancreas at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center identified 332 patients who underwent pancreatic resection. Of those, 58 (17%) were identified as having isolated clinical involvement of the portal vein and underwent pancreatic resection with PVR. Patients undergoing curative pancreatic resection without PVR over this same time period comprise the control group.


The 5% in-hospital mortality rate for PVR was not significantly different from that seen in those patients who did not undergo PVR (3%). Overall median survival for the PVR group was 13 months (range, < 1-109 months), which was not statistically different from those patients undergoing pancreatic resection without PVR (17 months (range, < 1-132months).


These results suggest that suspected isolated portal vein involvement should not be a contraindication for pancreatic resection in patients with adenocarcinoma.

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