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Health‐related quality of life after pancreatic resection for malignancy. BJS 2016; 103: 257-266.

Published: 19th November 2015

Authors: H. D. Heerkens, D. S. J. Tseng, I. M. Lips, H. C. van Santvoort, M. R. Vriens, J. Hagendoorn et al.


Health‐related quality of life (QoL) is of major importance in pancreatic cancer, owing to the limited life expectation. The aim of this prospective longitudinal study was to describe QoL in patients undergoing resection for pancreatic or periampullary malignancy.


QoL was measured on a scale of 0–100 in patients who underwent pancreatic resection for malignancy or premalignancy at the University Medical Centre Utrecht before resection, and 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery. Measures consisted of the RAND‐36, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) core questionnaire (QLQ‐C30) and the EORTC pancreatic cancer‐specific module (QLQ‐PAN26).


Between March 2012 and November 2013, 68 consecutive patients with a malignancy (59 patients) or premalignancy (9) were included. Physical role restriction, social and emotional domains showed a significant and clinically relevant deterioration directly after operation in 53 per cent (RAND‐36, P < 0·001), 63 and 78 per cent (QLQ‐C30 and RAND‐36 respectively, P < 0·001) and 37 per cent (RAND‐36, P < 0·001) of patients respectively. Most domains demonstrated recovery to preoperative values or better at 3 months, except for physical functioning. Emotional functioning at 3, 6 and 12 months was better than at baseline (P < 0·001). Symptom scores revealed a deterioration in vitality, pain (P = 0·002), fatigue (P < 0·001), appetite loss (P < 0·001), altered bowel habit (P = 0·001) and side‐effects (P < 0·001) after 1 month. After 3 months, only side‐effects were worse than preoperative values (P < 0·001).


QoL after pancreatic resection for malignant and premalignant tumours decreased considerably in the early postoperative phase. Full recovery of QoL took up to 6 months after the operation.

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