Background: Because metastatic pancreatic endocrine tumors (MPET) have a poor prognosis, 17 patients with potentially resectable MPET were prospectively studied to define the efficacy of aggressive resection.
Methods: Patients underwent resection when the full extent of MPET was deemed operable after imaging studies were obtained. Two patients underwent three reoperations for recurrent tumor.
Results: MPET were completely excised in 16 of 20 cases by major resections of liver, viscera, and nodes, with no operative mortality. Survival was 87% at 2 years and 79% at 5 years with mean follow-up of 3.2 years. Median imaging disease-free interval was 1.8 years, and four of 17 patients remain biochemically cured. After aggressive resection patients with MPET limited in extent had higher survival than patients with extensive MPET (p < 0.019). In a nonrandomized cohort of 25 patients with inoperable tumor, survival was 60% at 2 years and 28% at 5 years.
Conclusions: In select patients MPET can be resected safely with a favorable outcome; most patients will experience recurrence, but some may be cured. Resection of extensive MPET does not appear to improve survival. Resection of limited MPET should be considered as life-extending and potentially curative therapy.