Clinicopathologic characteristics and treatment outcomes of pancreatic cancer patients at a tertiary referral hospital in Kenya

19 Mar 2024
Sheila W Muchiri, Elly O Ogutu, Peter O Oyiro, Lars Aabakken

The global incidence of pancreatic cancer (PC) continues to steadily increase whereas its prognosis remains poor. Previous studies have suggested worse outcomes among individuals of African descent. The characteristics of patients with PC in Kenya, and their contemporary management and survival outcomes remain largely unknown. This study aimed to describe the clinical and pathologic characteristics, management, and outcomes of patients diagnosed with PC at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), a tertiary referral hospital in Kenya. Records of 242 patients diagnosed with PC at KNH between 1st January 2014 and 30th September 2021 were assessed in this retrospective cohort study. Data on their clinical, histopathologic, and treatment characteristics was presented as mean (± standard deviation) and/or median (interquartile range) for continuous variables and frequency (percentage) for categorical variables. Kaplan–Meier and Cox proportional hazard ratios were used for survival analysis. PC occurred in a young population, the median age being 58.5 years (inter-quartile range 35–88). The majority of tumours (54%) were metastatic at diagnosis, while 28% and 14% were stage III and stage I/II, respectively. Surgical resections with curative intent were performed on 7% overall and 44% of stage I/II cases. The majority of patients with stage I/II disease (52.9%) received chemotherapy whereas the majority with stage III and IV disease received the best supportive care only (62.7% and 64.9%, respectively). Patients who underwent surgical resection (HR for mortality 0.20, 95% CI 0.05–0.83, p = 0.021) and chemotherapy (HR for mortality 0.15, 95% CI 0.08–0.29, p < 0.001) had significantly improved survival, reflecting a more favourable stage of the disease more amenable to aggressive therapies. The median survival time was 3 months and the 1-year survival rate was 32%.

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