Some Pancreatic Cancer Patients May Develop Diabetes After Surgery

A study found that surgery for pancreatic cancer was associated with the development of postoperative diabetes, although newly-diagnosed diabetes had high odds of resolution following surgery.

This study was published in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Pancreatectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the pancreas. In distal pancreatectomy, the tail or a portion of the pancreas are removed, but not the entire organ.

“Pancreatic cancer and diabetes status have complex bilateral interactions; therefore, understanding their clinical features is essential for the clinical management of pancreatic cancer patients,” the authors wrote.

Researchers from Chiba University in Chiba, Japan, aimed to evaluate diabetes status in patients with pancreatic cancer prior to diagnosis and following surgery. The study retrospectively identified 189 patients with pancreatic cancer who underwent either distal pancreatectomy or pancreatoduodenectomy, the removal of the pancreas head, between 2011 and 2016. Diabetes status and clinical outcomes of each patient were collected from medical records.

At the time of resection, 115 patients had normal glucose tolerance. Following surgery, 22 patients (19.1%) developed type 2 diabetes. The investigators found that distal pancreatectomy was significantly associated with diabetes development for these patients.

In addition, 74 patients had a type 2 diabetes diagnosis at the time of surgery. Of this cohort, 15 patients recorded diabetes resolution following resection, the majority of whom had been diagnosed within 3 months of surgery. Newly-diagnosed diabetes was determined to be an independent factor for diabetes resolution following resection.

“In pancreatic cancer patients who underwent pancreatectomy, distal pancreatectomy was correlated with postoperative diabetes, and newly diagnosed diabetes had a high probability of resolution after resection,” the researchers concluded.