Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease, and even after assumed margin-free pancreatoduodenectomy, most patients die within few years. The aims were to evaluate the importance of standardised histopathologic assessment for adequacy of reporting and survival estimates, and to report on prognostic factors in a setting of standardised histopathologic assessment.
We performed immunohistochemical evaluation, slide review, and review of histopathologic reports from all pancreatoduodenectomies at Rikshospitalet University Hospital in 1980–2004. Reports from 1998-2004 at this institution were compared with reports from all other Norwegian institutions in the same period.
Standardised histopathologic assessment and reporting was found necessary to avoid underestimation of poor prognostic factors, and to avoid misdiagnosis of tumours originating from non-pancreatic tissue (ampulla, distal bile duct, duodenum). Standardised histopathology was more important than surgical volume for completeness of reporting and for reliability of survival estimates, particularly with respect to lymph node evaluation. Immunostaining for MUC1 and MUC4 identified a subgroup of patients with particularly poor prognosis.
Standardised histopathologic evaluation should be a first prerequisite to assure adequate histopathology after pancreatoduodenectomy. Immunostaining may identify tumour markers potentially targetable in future adjuvant treatments for pancreatic cancer.
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