Pancreatic cancer remains one of the five leading causes of cancer deaths in industrialized nations. For adenocarcinomas in the head of the gland and premalignant lesions, partial pancreaticoduodenectomy represents the standard treatment for resectable tumours. The gastro- or duodenojejunostomy after partial pancreaticoduodenectomy can be reestablished via either an antecolic or a retrocolic route. The debate about the more favourable technique for bowel reconstruction is ongoing.
To compare the effectiveness and safety of antecolic and retrocolic gastro- or duodenojejunostomy after partial pancreaticoduodenectomy.
We conducted a systematic literature search on 29 September 2015 to identify all randomised controlled trials in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), The Cochrane Library 2015, issue 9, MEDLINE (1946 to September 2015), and EMBASE (1974 to September 2015). We applied no language restrictions. We handsearched reference lists of identified trials to identify further relevant trials, and searched the trial registry clinicaltrials.gov for ongoing trials.
We considered all randomised controlled trials that compared antecolic versus retrocolic reconstruction of bowel continuity after partial pancreaticoduodenectomy for any given indication to be eligible.
Two review authors independently screened the identified references and extracted data from the included trials. The same two review authors independently assessed risk of bias of included trials, according to standard Cochrane methodology. We used a random-effects model to pool the results of the individual trials in a meta-analysis. We used odds ratios to compare binary outcomes and mean differences for continuous outcomes.
Of a total of 216 citations identified by the systematic literature search, we included six randomised controlled trials (reported in nine publications), with a total of 576 participants. We identified a moderate heterogeneity of methodological quality and risk of bias of the included trials. None of the pooled results for our main outcomes of interest showed significant differences: delayed gastric emptying (OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.31 to 1.18; P = 0.14), mortality (RD -0.01; 95% CI -0.03 to 0.02; P = 0.72), postoperative pancreatic fistula (OR 0.98; 95% CI 0.65 to 1.47; P = 0.92), postoperative haemorrhage (OR 0.79; 95% CI 0.38 to 1.65; P = 0.53), intra-abdominal abscess (OR 0.93; 95% CI 0.52 to 1.67; P = 0.82), bile leakage (OR 0.89; 95% CI 0.36 to 2.15; P = 0.79), reoperation rate (OR 0.59; 95% CI 0.27 to 1.31; P = 0.20), and length of hospital stay (MD -0.67; 95%CI -2.85 to 1.51; P = 0.55). Furthermore, the perioperative outcomes duration of operation, intraoperative blood loss and time to NGT removal showed no relevant differences. Only one trial reported quality of life, on a subgroup of participants, also without a significant difference between the two groups at any time point. The overall quality of the evidence was only low to moderate, due to heterogeneity, some inconsistency and risk of bias in the included trials.
There was low to moderate quality evidence suggesting no significant differences in morbidity, mortality, length of hospital stay, or quality of life between antecolic and retrocolic reconstruction routes for gastro- or duodenojejunostomy. Due to heterogeneity in definitions of the endpoints between trials, and differences in postoperative management, future research should be based on clearly defined endpoints and standardised perioperative management, to potentially elucidate differences between these two procedures. Novel strategies should be evaluated for prophylaxis and treatment of common complications, such as delayed gastric emptying.