Impact of Intraoperative Dexamethasone on Surgical and Oncologic Outcomes for Patients with Resected Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

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Background: Administration of dexamethasone to mitigate postoperative nausea and vomiting has been suggested to improve short- and long-term outcomes after pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) resection. This study aimed primarily to evaluate these hypotheses in a contemporary patient cohort treated with multimodality therapy. Methods: The clinicopathologic and perioperative characteristics of consecutive resected PDAC patients (July 2011 to October 2018) were analyzed from a prospectively maintained database. Intraoperative administration of dexamethasone (4–10 mg) was retrospectively abstracted from the electronic medical record. Results: The majority of 373 patients (59.8%) received intraoperative dexamethasone. Most of these patients underwent neoadjuvant therapy (75.3%), were potentially resectable at presentation (69.7%), and underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy (79.9%). Women were more likely to receive dexamethasone than men (69.9 vs 30.1%; p < 0.001). The cohorts were otherwise clinically similar. Intraoperative dexamethasone was not associated with differences in postoperative major complications (PMCs) (21.1 vs 19.3%; p = 0.68), postoperative pancreatic fistulas (6.3 vs 6.7%; p = 0.88), or composite infectious complications (28.7 vs 24.7%; p = 0.39). Dexamethasone was not associated with any improvement in median recurrence-free survival (RFS) (17 vs 17 months; p = 0.99) or overall survival (OS) (46 vs 43 months; p = 0.90). After adjustment for clinical factors including margin status, clinical classification, tumor size, and dexamethasone, the only factors independently associated with OS were pathologic node-positivity (hazard ratio [HR], 1.80, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32–2.47), perineural invasion (HR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.23–3.31), multimodality therapy (HR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.13–0.70), and PMCs (HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.17–2.29) (all p < 0.006). Conclusions: Dexamethasone failed to demonstrate any protective advantage in terms of mitigating short-term PMCs or infectious complications, or to confer any long-term survival benefit. Tumor biology, multimodality therapy, and PMCs remain the main prognostic factors after PDAC resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1563-1569
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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