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Defining distal splenopancreatectomy by the mesopancreas.

BACKGROUND: The implementation of the pathologic CRM (circumferential resection margin) staging system for pancreatic head ductal adenocarcinomas (hPDAC) resulted in a dramatic increase of R1 resections at the dorsal resection margin, presumably because of the high rate of mesopancreatic fat (MP) infiltration. Therefore, mesopancreatic excision (MPE) during pancreatoduodenectomy has recently been promoted and has demonstrated better local disease control, fueling the discussion of neoadjuvant downsizing regimes in MP + patients. However, it is unknown to what extent the MP is infiltrated in patients with distal pancreatic (tail/body) carcinomas (dPDAC). It is also unknown if the MP infiltration status affects surgical margin control in distal pancreatectomy (DP). The aim of our study was to histopathologically analyze MP infiltration and elucidate the influence of resection margin clearance on recurrence and survival in patients with dPDAC. Furthermore, the results were compared to a collective receiving MPE for hPDAC.

METHOD: Clinicopathological and survival parameters of 295 consecutive patients who underwent surgery for PDAC (n = 63 dPDAC and n = 232 hPDAC) were evaluated. The CRM evaluation was performed in a standardized fashion and the specimens were examined according to the Leeds pathology protocol (LEEPP). The MP area was histopathologically evaluated for cancerous infiltration.

RESULTS: In 75.4% of dPDAC patients the MP fat was infiltrated by vital tumor cells. The rates of MP infiltration and R0CRM- resections were similar between dPDAC and hPDAC patients (p = 0.497 and 0.453 respectively). MP- infiltration status did not correlate with CRM implemented resection status in dPDAC patients (p = 0.348). In overall survival analysis, resection status and MP status remained prognostic factors for survival. In follow up analysis. surgical margin clearance in dPDAC patients was associated with a significant improvement in local recurrence rates (5.2% in R0CRM- resected vs. 33.3 in R1/R0CRM + resected, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSION: While resection margin status was not affected by the MP status in dPDAC patients, the high MP infiltration rate, as well as improved survival in MP- dPDAC patients after R0CRM- resection, justify mesopancreatic excision during splenopancreatectomy. Larger scale studies are urgently needed to validate our results and to study the effect on neoadjuvant treatment in dPDAC patients.

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