BACKGROUND Perioperative blood transfusion (PBT) is common in pancreatic surgery. Recent studies have suggested that PBT may be associated with worse long-term outcomes. METHODS A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing long-term clinical outcomes of cancer patients undergoing curative-intent pancreatic surgery with regard to occurrence of PBT was performed. RESULTS A total of 23 studies (4339 patients) were included
in the systematic review, and 19 studies (3646 patients) were included in the meta-analysis. Nearly half (45.8 %) of all patients were female (range 25-60 %), and median age ranged from 59 to 72 years. About half (46.5 %, range 19-72 %) of the patients were transfused. Most had pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (69.5 %), while others had ampullary carcinoma (15.0 %), cholangiocarcinoma (7.4 %), or exocrine tumors of pancreas (8.1 %). Most (91.1 %) underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy, while the remaining patients underwent a total or distal pancreatectomy. The 5-year overall survival for all patients ranged from 0 to 65 %. Thirteen and nine of 19 studies reported a detrimental effect of PBT on survival on univariable and multivariable analysis, respectively. Overall, PBT was associated with shorter overall survival (pooled odds ratio 2.43, 95 % confidence interval 1.90-3.10); this finding was reproduced in sensitivity analysis. CONCLUSIONS Patients receiving PBT had significantly lower 5-year survival after curative-intent pancreatic surgery. Further research should focus on implementing guidelines for and discerning factors associated with the poor outcomes after PBT.