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The aim of this study was to compare oncological outcomes after minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy (MIDP) with open distal pancreatectomy (ODP) in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).Cohort studies have suggested superior short-term outcomes of MIDP vs. ODP. Recent international surveys, however, revealed that surgeons have concerns about the oncological outcomes of MIDP for PDAC.This is a pan-European propensity score matched study including patients who underwent MIDP (laparoscopic or robot-assisted) or ODP for PDAC between January 1, 2007 and July 1, 2015. MIDP patients were matched to ODP patients in a 1:1 ratio. Main outcomes were radical (R0) resection, lymph node retrieval, and survival.In total, 1212 patients were included from 34 centers in 11 countries. Of 356 (29%) MIDP patients, 340 could be matched. After matching, the MIDP conversion rate was 19% (n = 62). Median blood loss [200 mL (60–400) vs 300 mL (150–500), P = 0.001] and hospital stay [8 (6–12) vs 9 (7–14) days, P < 0.001] were lower after MIDP. Clavien-Dindo grade ≥3 complications (18% vs 21%, P = 0.431) and 90-day mortality (2% vs 3%, P > 0.99) were comparable for MIDP and ODP, respectively. R0 resection rate was higher (67% vs 58%, P = 0.019), whereas Gerota's fascia resection (31% vs 60%, P < 0.001) and lymph node retrieval [14 (8–22) vs 22 (14–31), P < 0.001] were lower after MIDP. Median overall survival was 28 [95% confidence interval (CI), 22–34] versus 31 (95% CI, 26–36) months (P = 0.929).Comparable survival was seen after MIDP and ODP for PDAC, but the opposing differences in R0 resection rate, resection of Gerota's fascia, and lymph node retrieval strengthen the need for a randomized trial to confirm the oncological safety of MIDP.