Background: The oncological safety of minimally invasive surgery has been questioned for several abdominal cancers. Concerns also exist regarding the use of minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy (MIDP) in patients with resectable pancreatic cancer as randomised trials are lacking. Methods: In this international randomised non-inferiority trial, we recruited adults with resectable pancreatic cancer from 35 centres in 12 countries. Patients were randomly assigned to either MIDP (laparoscopic or robotic) or open distal pancreatectomy (ODP). Both patients and pathologists were blinded to the assigned approach. Primary endpoint was radical resection (R0, ≥1 mm free margin) in patients who had ultimately undergone resection. Analyses for the primary endpoint were by modified intention-to-treat, excluding patients with missing data on primary endpoint. The pre-defined non-inferiority margin of −7% was compared with the lower limit of the two-sided 90% confidence interval (CI) of absolute difference in the primary endpoint. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry (ISRCTN44897265). Findings: Between May 8, 2018 and May 7, 2021, 258 patients were randomly assigned to MIDP (131 patients) or ODP (127 patients). Modified intention-to-treat analysis included 114 patients in the MIDP group and 110 patients in the ODP group. An R0 resection occurred in 83 (73%) patients in the MIDP group and in 76 (69%) patients in the ODP group (difference 3.7%, 90% CI −6.2 to 13.6%; pnon-inferiority = 0.039). Median lymph node yield was comparable (22.0 [16.0–30.0] vs 23.0 [14.0–32.0] nodes, p = 0.86), as was the rate of intraperitoneal recurrence (41% vs 38%, p = 0.45). Median follow-up was 23.5 (interquartile range 17.0–30.0) months. Other postoperative outcomes were comparable, including median time to functional recovery (5 [95% CI 4.5–5.5] vs 5 [95% CI 4.7–5.3] days; p = 0.22) and overall survival (HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.67–1.46, p = 0.94). Serious adverse events were reported in 23 (18%) of 131 patients in the MIDP group vs 28 (22%) of 127 patients in the ODP group. Interpretation: This trial provides evidence on the non-inferiority of MIDP compared to ODP regarding radical resection rates in patients with resectable pancreatic cancer. The present findings support the applicability of minimally invasive surgery in patients with resectable left-sided pancreatic cancer. Funding: Medtronic Covidien AG, Johnson & Johnson Medical Limited, Dutch Gastroenterology Society.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100673
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Europe
Pages (from-to)100673
Publication statusPublished - 08.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-14 Haematology, Oncology
  • 205-25 General and Visceral Surgery

Cite this