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Nicholas Cardillo, Daniel M. Seible, Katherine E. Fero, Andrew R. Bruggeman, Reith R. Sarkar, Alexa Azuara, Daniel R. Simpson, and James D. Murphy

Background: The high prevalence of distant metastatic disease among patients with pancreatic cancer often draws attention away from the local pancreatic tumor. This study aimed to define the complications and hospitalizations from local versus distant disease progression among a retrospective cohort of patients with pancreatic cancer. Methods: Records of 298 cases of pancreatic cancer treated at a single institution from 2004 through 2015 were retrospectively reviewed, and cancer-related symptoms and complications requiring hospitalization were recorded. Hospitalizations related to pancreatic cancer were attributed to either local or distant progression. Cumulative incidence analyses were used to estimate the incidence of hospitalization, and multivariable Fine-Gray regression models were used to identify factors predictive of hospitalizations. Results: The 1-year cumulative incidences of hospitalization due to local versus distant disease progression were 31% and 24%, respectively. Among 509 recorded hospitalizations, leading local etiologies included cholangitis (10%), biliary obstruction (7%), local procedure complication (7%), and gastrointestinal bleeding (7%). On multivariable analysis, significant predictors of hospitalization from local progression included unresectable disease (subdistribution hazard ratio [SDHR], 2.42; P<.01), black race (SDHR, 3.34; P<.01), younger age (SDHR, 1.02 per year; P=.01), tumor in the pancreatic head (SDHR, 2.19; P<.01), and larger tumor size (SDHR, 1.13 per centimeter; P=.02). Most patients who died in the hospital from pancreatic cancer (56%) were admitted for complications of local disease progression. Conclusions: Patients with pancreatic cancer experience significant complications of local tumor progression. Although distant metastatic progression represents a hallmark of pancreatic cancer, future research should also focus on improving local therapies.