Pancreatic Cancer in Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital: A Retrospective Review of Years 2001-2008


Pancreatic cancer is usually detected late and has a high mortality rate. Since little is known about this cancer in Malaysia, a review of all cases admitted to Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital was conducted to identify the epidemiological distribution and assess survival. A list of pancreatic cancer patients in 2001-2008 was obtained from the Hospital Record Department. Only cases confirmed by radio-imaging or histo-pathology examination were included. We excluded those with incomplete medical records. Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard approaches were used for data analysis. Only 56 cases were included with a mean (SD) age of 49.6 (16.0) years, with 60.7% males and 82.1% of Malay ethnicity. Previous history included cholelithiasis in 23.2%, diabetes mellitus in 16.1%, previous laparotomy in 10.7%, chronic pancreatitis in 7.1%, alcohol drinking in 5.4% and positive family history in 3.6%. The common presenting history included 67.9% loss of appetite, 66.1% loss of weight, 58.9% jaundice and 46.4% abdominal pain. Tumour staging was: 21.5% stage l, 17.8% stage ll, 3.6% stage lll and 57.1% stage lV. The median (95% CI) survival time was 3.4 (0.5, 6.3) months and significant prognostic factors were duration of symptoms (HR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95, 0.99; p value 0.013), ascites (HR 2.64; 95% CI: 1.28, 5.44; p value 0.008) and Whipple surgery (HR 4.20; 95% CI: 2.27, 7.76; p value <0.001). The history of presenting complaints was short and the majority presented at late stages of the disease, thus the median survival time was very poor.