Endoscopic pancreatic duct stenting for pain palliation in selected pancreatic cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Pradeep K. Siddappa, Fadi Hawa, Larry J. Prokop, M. Hassan Murad, Barham K. Abu Dayyeh, Vinay Chandrasekhara, Mark D. Topazian, Fateh Bazerbachi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Abdominal pain is a debilitating symptom affecting ∼80% of pancreatic cancer (PC) patients. Pancreatic duct (PD) decompression has been reported to alleviate this pain, although this practice has not been widely adopted. We aimed to evaluate the role, efficacy, and safety of endoscopic PD decompression for palliation of PC post-prandial obstructive-type pain. Methods: A systematic review until 7 October 2020 was performed. Two independent reviewers selected studies, extracted data, and assessed the methodological quality. Results: We identified 12 publications with a total of 192 patients with PC presenting with abdominal pain, in whom PD decompression was attempted, and was successful in 167 patients (mean age 62.5 years, 58.7% males). The use of plastic stents was reported in 159 patients (95.2%). All included studies reported partial or complete improvement in pain levels after PD stenting, with an improvement rate of 93% (95% confidence interval, 79%-100%). The mean duration of pain improvement was 94 ± 16 days. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)-related adverse events (AEs) were post-sphincterotomy bleeding (1.8%), post-ERCP pancreatitis (0.6%), and hemosuccus pancreaticus (0.6%). AEs were not reported in two patients who underwent endoscopic ultrasound-guided PD decompression. In the 167 patients with technical success, the stent-migration and stent-occlusion rates were 3.6% and 3.0%, respectively. No AE-related mortality was reported. The methodological quality assessment showed the majority of the studies having low or unclear quality. Conclusion: In this exploratory analysis, endoscopic PD drainage may be an effective and safe option in selected patients for the management of obstructive-type PC pain. However, a randomized-controlled trial is needed to delineate the role of this invasive practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number001
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalGastroenterology Report
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Cancer-associated pain
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Meta-analysis
  • Palliative therapy
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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