Pancreatic cancer remains a highly fatal disease with a 5-year overall survival of less than 10%. In seeking to improve clinical outcomes, there is ongoing debate about the weight that should be given to patient volume in centralization models. The aim of this systematic review is to examine the relationship between patient volume and clinical outcome after pancreatic resection for cancer in the contemporary literature.
The Google Scholar, PubMed, and Cochrane Library databases were systematically searched from February 2015 until June 2021 for articles reporting patient volume and outcomes after pancreatic cancer resection.
There were 46 eligible studies over a 6-year period comprising 526,344 patients. The median defined annual patient volume thresholds varied: low-volume 0 (range 0-9), medium-volume 9 (range 3-29), high-volume 19 (range 9-97), and very-high-volume 28 (range 17-60) patients. The latter 2 were associated with a significantly lower 30-day mortality (P < .001), 90-day mortality (P < .001), overall postoperative morbidity (P = .005), failure to rescue rate (P = .006), and R0 resection rate (P = .008) compared with very-low/low-volume hospitals. Centralization was associated with lower 30-day mortality in 3 out of 5 studies, while postoperative morbidity was similar in 4 out of 4 studies. Median survival was longer in patients traveling greater distance for pancreatic resection in 2 out of 3 studies. Median and 5-year survival did not differ between urban and rural settings.
The contemporary literature confirms a strong relationship between patient volume and clinical outcome for pancreatic cancer resection despite expected bias toward more complex surgery in high-volume centers. These outcomes include lower mortality, morbidity, failure-to-rescue, and positive resection margin rates.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.