Impact of celiac neurolysis on survival in patients with pancreatic cancer

Larissa L. Fujii-Lau, William R. Bamlet, Jason S. Eldrige, Suresh T. Chari, Ferga C. Gleeson, Barham K. Abu Dayyeh, Jonathan E. Clain, Randall K. Pearson, Bret T. Petersen, Elizabeth Rajan, Mark D. Topazian, Santhi S. Vege, Kenneth K. Wang, Maurits J. Wiersema, Michael J. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background Pancreatic cancer (PC) often produces pain that is difficult to control. Celiac neurolysis (CN) is performed with the goal of improving pain control and quality of life while reducing opioid-related side effects. Objective We aimed to evaluate whether CN provides a survival advantage for PC patients. Design Retrospective case-control study. Setting Single tertiary-care referral center. Patients Review of a prospectively maintained database identified patients with unresectable PC who underwent CN over a 12-year period. Each patient was matched to 2 control patients with unresectable PC. Intervention CN, which included both celiac plexus neurolysis (CPN) and celiac ganglia neurolysis (CGN). Main Outcome Measurements Median survival in Kaplan-Meier curves and hazard ratios. Results A total of 417 patients underwent CN and were compared with 840 controls with PC. Baseline characteristics were similar except the CN group had greater weight loss and pain requiring opioids. A mean of 16.6 ± 5.8 mL of alcohol was administered. For patients who underwent CN, the median survival from the time of presentation was shorter compared with controls (193 vs 246 days; hazard ratio 1.32; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-1.54). There was no difference in survival with unilateral or bilateral injection. However, EUS-guided CN was associated with longer survival compared with non-EUS approaches, and those who received CPN had longer survival compared with CGN. Limitations Single center, retrospective. Conclusion Our study suggests that CN is an independent predictor of shortened survival in PC patients. A prospective study is needed to verify the findings and determine whether shortened survival results from CN or from other features such as performance status and tumor-related characteristics. It is also imperative to verify our finding that EUS-guided CN provides a survival advantage over other approaches and whether CPN prolongs survival compared with CGN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-56.e2
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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