Prognostic impact of para-aortic lymph node metastases in non-pancreatic periampullary cancer

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BACKGROUND: Resection of the para-aortic lymph node (PALN) group Ln16b1 during pancreatoduodenectomy remains controversial because PALN metastases are associated with a worse prognosis in pancreatic cancer patients. The present study aimed to analyze the impact of PALN metastases on outcome after non-pancreatic periampullary cancer resection.

METHODS: One hundred sixty-four patients with non-pancreatic periampullary cancer who underwent curative pancreatoduodenectomy or total pancreatectomy between 2005 and 2016 were retrospectively investigated. The data were supplemented with a systematic literature review on this topic.

RESULTS: In 67 cases, the PALNs were clearly assigned and could be histopathologically analyzed. In 10.4% of cases (7/67), tumor-infiltrated PALNs (PALN+) were found. Metastatic PALN+ stage was associated with increased tumor size (P = 0.03) and a positive nodal stage (P < 0.001). The median overall survival (OS) of patients with metastatic PALN and non-metastatic PALN (PALN-) was 24.8 and 29.5 months, respectively. There was no significant difference in the OS of PALN+ and pN1 PALN patients (P = 0.834). Patients who underwent palliative surgical treatment (n = 20) had a lower median OS of 13.6 (95% confidence interval 2.7-24.5) months. Including the systematic literature review, only 23 cases with PALN+ status and associated OS could be identified; the average survival was 19.8 months.

CONCLUSION: PALN metastasis reflects advanced tumor growth and lymph node spread; however, it did not limit overall survival in single-center series. The available evidence of the prognostic impact of PALN metastasis is scarce and a recommendation against resection in these cases cannot be given.


Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalWorld journal of surgical oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2020

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC6975057
Scopus 85078175631


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Abdomen, Aged, Duodenal Neoplasms/mortality, Female, Humans, Lymph Nodes/pathology, Lymphatic Metastasis, Male, Middle Aged, Pancreatectomy, Pancreaticoduodenectomy, Prognosis, Retrospective Studies, Survival Rate