Neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas can be managed surgically with excellent outcomes.
Retrospective case series.
Academic medical center.
Seventy consecutive patients who underwent resection for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2005.
Pancreaticoduodenectomy, distal pancreatectomy, or enucleation.
Main Outcome Measures
Postoperative morbidity, mortality, and long-term survival.
Of the 70 patients, 50 (71.4%) had nonfunctional tumors. Thirty-seven patients (52.9%) had neuroendocrine carcinomas and 13 (18.6%) had benign islet cell neoplasms. Twenty patients had functional tumors. Of these 20 patients, 16 had insulinomas, 2 had glucagonomas, and 2 had gastrinomas. Twenty-seven patients underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy, 32 had distal pancreatectomy, and 11 underwent enucleation. Patients undergoing enucleation as compared with those not undergoing enucleation were younger (mean age, 39 vs 51 years, respectively; P = .009) and had smaller tumors (mean tumor size, 2 vs 5 cm, respectively; P<.001). Postoperative complications occurred in 13 patients (48.1%) after pancreaticoduodenectomy, in 4 patients (12.5%) after distal pancreatectomy, and in 0 patients after enucleation. There were no perioperative mortalities. With a median follow-up of 50 months, the 5-year actuarial survival for the patients with malignant neuroendocrine carcinomas (n = 37) was 77%, and all of the patients with functional tumors are alive. The presence of lymphovascular invasion closely approached significance when survival was evaluated (P = .06). Lymph node status, perineural invasion, and liver metastasis did not impact survival.
This single-institutional case series demonstrates that pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors can be safely resected without mortality and with minimal morbidity. The presence of lymphovascular invasion can be used to classify neuroendocrine tumors as malignant, and this appears to predict survival. Patients with malignant tumors can expect long-term survival even in the setting of metastatic disease.