Purpose: Receipt of 6 cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) is standard of care in pancreatic cancer (PC). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) is increasingly utilized; however, optimal number of cycles needed alone or in combination with AC remains unknown. We sought to determine the optimal number and sequence of perioperative chemotherapy cycles in PC. Methods: Single institutional review of all resected PCs from 2008 to 2015. The impact of cumulative number of chemotherapy cycles received (0, 1–5, and ≥6 cycles) and their sequence (NAC, AC, or NAC + AC) on overall survival was evaluated Cox-proportional hazard modeling, using 6 cycles of AC as reference. Results: A total of 522 patients were analyzed. Based on sample size distribution, four combinations were evaluated: 0 cycles = 12.1%, 1–5 cycles of combined NAC + AC = 29%, 6 cycles of AC = 25%, and ≥6 cycles of combined NAC + AC = 34%, with corresponding survival. 13.1, 18.5, 37, and 36.8 months. On MVA (P < 0.0001), tumor stage [hazard ratio (HR) 1.35], LNR (HR 4.3), and R1 margins (HR 1.77) were associated with increased hazard of death. Compared with 6 cycles AC, receipt of 0 cycles [HR 3.57, confidence interval (CI) 2.47–5.18] or 1–5 cycles in any combination (HR 2.37, CI 1.73–3.23) was associated with increased hazard of death, whereas receipt of ≥6 cycles in any sequence was associated with optimal and comparable survival (HR 1.07, CI 0.78–1.47). Conclusions: Receipt of 6 or more perioperative cycles of chemotherapy either as combined neoadjuvant and adjuvant or adjuvant alone may be associated with optimal and comparable survival in resected PC.
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