Background: Limited research has been performed regarding pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) diagnosed in early-onset patients. This study defined early-onset disease as cancer diagnosed before the age of 50 years and aimed to characterize the clinicopathologic factors associated with early- versus late-onset patients. Methods: The National Cancer Database was queried to identify early- and late-onset PDAC patients with cancer diagnosed from 2004 to 2013. Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment regimens, and overall survival (OS) were compared between the groups. Results: The study enrolled 207,062 patients, including 12,137 early-onset patients (5.9%) and 194,925 late-onset patients (94.1%). The early-onset patients (stage 3 or 4 cancer) were more likely to present with a later stage of disease (62.1% vs. 55.2%; p < 0.001) and to be male (57.1% vs. 50.0%; p < 0.001) than those with late-onset PDAC. The early-onset patients also presented with a lower Charlson/Deyo comorbidity score (80.9% vs. 66.6% had a score of 0; p < 0.001) and received higher rates of treatment (22.8% vs. 40.1% received no treatment, p < 0.001) than the late-onset patients. Furthermore, early-onset PDAC was associated with improved OS among all the PDAC patients (9.2 vs. 6.0 months; p < 0.001) and among the surgically resected patients (27.3 vs. 24.3 months; p < 0.001). Early-onset PDAC also was found to be independently associated with improved OS after adjustment for other significant clinicopathologic factors. Conclusions: Despite features suggestive of aggressive tumor biology at presentation, early-onset PDAC was independently associated with better OS than late-onset PDAC among all patients and among curatively resected stage-matched patients.
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