OBJECTIVE: To analyze the histopathological indicators significantly associated with surgical outcome and the pattern of recurrence in the setting of preoperative gemcitabine-based chemoradiation therapy (CRT) and subsequent pancreatectomy. BACKGROUND: Clinicopathological assessment of the resected specimen is an indispensable tool for predicting patient prognosis and localizing high-risk sites for tumor relapse. This procedure is also essential for the establishment of efficient postoperative follow-up protocols in the setting of a preoperative CRT strategy. METHODS: In a prospective phase II clinical trial at our hospital, 110 patients received preoperative CRT and subsequent resection. All 110 resected cases were included in this study. We employed disease-free survival (DFS) as a surgical outcome, and the pattern of recurrence was divided into 2 categories: (1) recurrence in the abdominal cavity (RAC), defined as either a locoregional or a peritoneal recurrence; or (2) distant recurrence (DR), defined as cancer recurrence in a distant organ. Clinicopathological variables were analyzed in association with DFS, RAC, and DR. RESULTS: Positive nodal involvement and perineural invasion were independent factors that were significantly associated with an unfavorable DFS (P = 0.021 and P = 0.026, respectively). The presence of perineural invasion was the single independent variable significantly associated with an increased risk of RAC (P = 0.002), whereas the status of nodal involvement was the single independent variable significantly associated with an increased risk of DR (P = 0.013). CONCLUSIONS: The status of nodal involvement and perineural invasion in resected specimens are significantly associated with DFS and clearly predict the pattern of recurrence in the setting of a preoperative gemcitabine-based CRT strategy.
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