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Surgical resection is the only possibly curative treatment of malignant pancreatic neoplasms, but major pancreatic resection for cancer is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to determine the relation between hospital volume and outcome in patients undergoing pancreatic resection for malignancy in California. Data were obtained from reports submitted to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development by all California hospitals from 1990 through 1994. Patient abstracts were analyzed for each of 1,705 patients who underwent major pancreatic resection for malignancy. Of the 298 reporting hospitals, 88% treated fewer than 2 patients per year; these low-volume centers treated the majority of patients. High-volume providers had significantly decreased operative mortality, complication-associated mortality, patient resource use, and total charges and were more likely than low-volume centers to discharge patients to home. These differences were not accounted for by patient mix. This study supports the concept of regionalizing high risk procedures in general surgery, such as major pancreatic resection for cancer.