Value of pancreatic resection for cancer metastatic to the pancreas

J Surg Res. 2010 May 15;160(2):268-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2008.04.012.


Background: Cancer metastatic to the pancreas from other primary sites is uncommon, and it has been treated with an aggressive surgical approach in fit patients when the primary tumor is controlled and the pancreas is the only site of metastatic disease. The value of pancreatic resection in this setting is unclear. The purpose of this study was to review cases of cancer metastatic to the pancreas.

Methods: We reviewed our experience with cancer metastatic to the pancreas and the literature regarding resection of pancreatic metastases. Patient and tumor characteristics were summarized using descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 220 patients with pancreatic metastasis were analyzed. Three patients were selected from our own experience, and 217 were selected from a literature review. In the 127 patients whose symptoms were recorded at the time of presentation, the most common presenting symptoms were jaundice (n = 32, 25.2%) and abdominal pain (n = 25, 19.7%). In the 189 patients for whom the location of the metastasis in the pancreas was revealed, the most common location was the head of the pancreas (n = 79, 41.8%). The primary tumor site was most commonly kidney (n = 155, 70.5%). Surgical resection was attempted in 177 of 220 patients; 135 patients suffering from RCC metastasis also underwent pancreatic resection. In the latter group, a median survival of 70 months was seen, as well as 78% and 65% 2- and 5-year survival rates, respectively.

Conclusion: Survival after resection of RCC with isolated metastasis to the pancreas is favorable. However, a more detailed analysis considering outcomes without surgery for each primary tumor site is needed before the value of this aggressive surgical approach can be completely assessed in the general occurrence of pancreatic metastasis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*