Obstruction of the main pancreatic duct with secondary upstream ductal hypertension is one cause of pain in patients with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic endoscopic stenting and decompression of the pancreatic duct have been effective in the treatment of pain secondary to chronic calcifying pancreatitis and in one case of pancreatic cancer. We describe eight patients with unresectable cancer of the pancreatic head associated with upstream dilatation of the pancreatic duct and severe pancreatic ''obstructive''-type pain (correlation with meals and pain radiation to the back) in which a pancreatic stent was inserted across the neoplastic stricture. No mortality was associated with the procedure. All patients but one were free of pain within 48 hours after endoscopic pancreatic stenting, and all discontinued narcotics. Mean survival time was 165.5 days (range, 26 to 575 days). Six patients were still without symptoms, whereas two had a painful relapse a few days before death. No clinical evidence of pancreatic clogged stent was observed during follow-up. Endoscopic pancreatic drainage is a safe and effective way of controlling cancer pain in selected cases and should be considered as a further therapeutic option in these patients.
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