Smoking history is associated with reduced efficacy of neoadjuvant therapy in pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Rita C. Akumuo, Sai P. Reddy, Caroline Westwood, Karthik Devarajan, Dany Barrak, Sanjay S. Reddy, Anthony M. Villano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Differential responses to neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) exist in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); however, contributing factors are poorly understood. Tobacco smoke is a common risk factor for PDAC, with nicotine-induced chemoresistance observed in other cancers. This study aimed to explore the potential association between tobacco use and NAT efficacy in PDAC. Methods: A single-center, retrospective analysis was conducted that included all consecutive patients with PDAC who underwent surgical resection after NAT with a documented smoking history (N = 208). NAT response was measured as percentage fibrosis in the surgical specimen. Multivariable models controlled for covariates and survival were modeled using the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Postoperatively, major responses to NAT (>95% fibrosis) were less frequently observed in smokers than in nonsmokers (13.7% vs 30.4%, respectively; P = .021). Pathologic complete responses were similarly less frequent in smokers than in nonsmokers (2.1% vs 9.9%, respectively; P = .023). On multivariate analysis controlling for covariates, smoking history remained independently associated with lower odds of major fibrosis (odds ratio [OR], 0.25; 95% CI, 0.10-0.59; P = .002) and pathologic complete response (OR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.03-0.84; P = .05). The median overall survival was significantly longer in nonsmokers than in smokers (39.1 vs 26.6 months, respectively; P = .05). Conclusion: Tobacco use was associated with diminished pathologic responses to NAT. Future research to understand the biology underlying this observation is warranted and may inform differential NAT approaches or counseling among these populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-610
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Fibrosis
  • Neoadjuvant
  • Pancreatic
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco


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