Department of Digestive Surgical Oncology, University Hospital of Dijon, France; Department of Digestive Surgical Oncology - Liver Transplantation Unit, University Hospital of Besançon, France. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Pancreatoduodenectomy for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) with paraaortic lymph nodes metastases (PALN +) is associated with poor survival. Still, there are no current guidelines advocating systematic detection of PALN+. METHODS : All consecutive patients who underwent surgical exploration/resection with concurrent paraaortic (group 16) lymphadenectomy for PDAC between 2009 and 2016 were considered for inclusion. Resection was systematically aborted in case of intraoperative PALN + detection. Diagnostic performance of preoperative imaging upon blind review and intraoperative PALN dissection with frozen section (FS) for PALN detection were evaluated. Additionally, the prognostic significance of PALN + on overall survival (OS) was analyzed. RESULTS : Over the study period, among 129 patients undergoing surgery for PDAC, 113 had intraoperative PALN dissection with FS analysis. Median number of resected PALN was 3 (range, 1-15). Overall, PALN+ was found in 19 patients (16.8%). Upon blind review, preoperative imaging performed poorly for PALN + detection with a low agreement between imaging and final pathology (Kappa-Cohen index<0.2). In contrast, PALN FS showed high detection performances and strong agreement with final pathology (Kappa-Cohen index = 0.783, 95%CI 0.779-0.867, p < 0.001). Regarding survival outcomes, there was no difference between patients with PALN+ and patients not resected in the setting of liver metastases or locally unresectable disease found at exploration (p = 0.708). CONCLUSIONS : Before PD for PDAC, intraoperative PALN dissection and FS analysis yields accurate PALN assessment and allows appropriate patient selection. This should be routinely performed and aborting resection should be strongly considered in case of PALN+.