The Effect of Celiac Neurolysis and Splanchnicectomy on Survival in Unresectable Pancreatic Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Linhan Ye, Stephan Schorn, Ilaria Pergolini, Okan Safak, Elke Demir, Rouzanna Istvanffy, Helmut Friess, Güralp O. Ceyhan, Ihsan Ekin Demir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Intractable pancreatic pain is one of the most common symptoms of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Celiac neurolysis (CN) and splanchnicectomy were already described as effective methods to manage abdominal pain in unresectable PDAC, but their impact on overall survival (OS) has not yet been established. Objective: We aimed to investigate the impact of CN and splanchnicectomy on the survival of patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer. Methods: A systematic review of PubMed and Cochrane Library according to predefined searching terms was conducted in March 2020. Hazard ratios (HR) of OS data were calculated using the Mantel-Haenszel model for random effects or fixed effects. Result: Four randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) and 2 non-RCTs with a total of 2,507 patients were identified. The overall pooled HR did not reveal any relevant effect of CN and splanchnicectomy on OS (HR: 1.03; 95% CI: 0.81-1.32), which was also underlined by the sensitivity analysis of RCTs (HR: 1.0; 95% CI: 0.72-1.39) and non-RCTs (HR: 1.07; 95% CI: 0.71-1.63). However, subgroup analyses depending on tumor stage revealed that CN or splanchnicectomy was associated with a worsened OS in AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) stage III patients with unresectable PDAC (HR: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.03-1.45), but nor for AJCC stage IV patients (HR: 1.27; 95% CI: 0.9-1.80). Conclusion: Although only few data are currently available, this systematic review with meta-analysis showed that in unresectable PDAC, CN or splanchnicectomy is associated with a worsened survival in stage III PDAC patients, with no effect on stage IV PDAC patients. These data call for caution in the usage of CN or splanchnicectomy in stage III PDAC and for further studies addressing this observation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Celiac neurolysis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Splanchnicectomy
  • Survival


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