The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Associated with Reduced Survival after Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Diagnosis: A Single-Centre Retrospective Analysis
Madge O., Brodey A., Bowen J., Nicholson G., Sivakumar S., Bottomley MJ.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hugely disrupted healthcare provision, including oncology services. To evaluate the effects of the pandemic on referral routes leading to diagnosis, treatments, and prognosis in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, we performed a retrospective cohort study at a single tertiary centre in the UK. The patients were identified from the weekly hepatopancreatobiliary multidisciplinary team meetings between February 2018 and March 2021. The demographic, referral, and treatment data for each patient and date of death, where applicable, were extracted from the electronic patient record. The patients (n = 203) were divided into “pre-pandemic” and “pandemic” cohorts based on a referral date cut-off of 23rd March 2020. The median survival was 7.4 months [4.9–9.3] in the “pre-pandemic” cohort (n = 125), halving to 3.3 months [2.2–6.0], (p = 0.015) in the “pandemic” cohort (n = 78). There was no significant difference in patient characteristics between the two cohorts. There was a trend toward increased emergency presentations at diagnosis and reduced use of surgical resection in the “pandemic” cohort. This small-scale study suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with a halving of median survival in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Urgent further studies are required to confirm these findings and examine corresponding effects in other cancer types.