The yield of staging laparoscopy for resectable and borderline resectable pancreatic cancer in the PREOPANC randomized controlled trial

Published:December 26, 2022DOI:



      The necessity of the staging laparoscopy in patients with pancreatic cancer is still debated. The objective of this study was to assess the yield of staging laparoscopy for detecting occult metastases in patients with resectable or borderline resectable pancreatic cancer.


      This was a post-hoc analysis of the randomized controlled PREOPANC trial in which patients with resectable or borderline resectable pancreatic cancer were randomized between preoperative chemoradiotherapy or immediate surgery. Patients assigned to preoperative treatment underwent a staging laparoscopy prior to preoperative treatment according to protocol, to avoid unnecessary chemoradiotherapy in patients with occult metastatic disease.


      Of the 246 included patients, 7 did not undergo surgery. A staging laparoscopy was performed in 133 patients (55.6%) and explorative laparotomy in 106 patients (44.4%). At staging laparoscopy, occult metastases were detected in 13 patients (9.8%); 12 liver metastases and 1 peritoneal metastasis. At direct explorative laparotomy, occult metastases were found in 9 patients (8.5%); 6 with liver metastases, 1 with peritoneal metastases, and 2 with metastases at multiple sites. One patient had peritoneal metastases at exploration after a negative staging laparoscopy. Patients with occult metastases were more likely to receive palliative chemotherapy if found with staging laparoscopy compared to laparotomy (76.9% vs. 30.0%, p = 0.040).


      Staging laparoscopy detected occult metastases in about 10% of patients with resectable or borderline resectable pancreatic cancer. These patients were more likely to receive palliative systemic chemotherapy compared to patients in whom occult metastases were detected with laparotomy. A staging laparoscopy is recommended before planned resection.


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