Baseline Hemoglobin-A1c Impacts Clinical Outcomes in Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

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An association between diabetes mellitus and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) has long been recognized. This article assesses the effect of the baseline hemoglobin-A1c (HbA1c) value on the clinical outcomes of patients with PDA. HbA1c values were prospectively collected on 656 consecutive patients presenting to a pancreas multidisciplinary cancer clinic from 2009 to 2012. Patients were diagnosed with benign pancreatic disease (BPD) or biopsy-confirmed resectable (R), borderline/locally advanced (BL), or metastatic (M) PDA. Excluded were those with prior treatment for PDA or a history of chronic diabetes mellitus (>1-year or unknown duration), resulting in a final cohort of 284 patients. Of 284 patients, 44 had benign disease, 62 had R-PDA, 115 had BL-PDA, and 63 had M-PDA. Patients with malignant disease (R-, BL-, and M-PDA) collectively had a higher average HbA1c value than patients with BPD (6.1% vs 5.6%; P<.001). Among patients with PDA (n=240), HbA1c values of 6.5% or greater were significantly associated with inferior overall survival (OS) compared with patients with HbA1c values less than 6.5% (hazard ratio [HR], 1.74; OS, 10.2 vs 13.0 months; P=.007), along with other known prognostic factors, such as age of 65 years or older, ECOG performance status of 1 or greater, carbohydrate antigen 19-9 level greater than 90, tumor size larger than 3 cm, and disease stage. HbA1c values of 6.5% or greater remained in the final predictive model using backward elimination (HR, 1.46; P=.097), indicating that HbA1c values of 6.5% or greater influence OS of patients with PDA even when accounting for other known prognostic factors. HbA1c level at presentation is significantly higher in patients with PDA than patients with BPD and seems to affect survival.

Correspondence: Joseph M. Herman, MD, MSc, Department of Radiation Oncology & Molecular Radiation Sciences, The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 401 North Broadway, Weinberg Suite 1440, Baltimore, MD 21231. E-mail: jherma15@jhmi.edu

Authors contributed equally to this work.

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