Background: Information on the treatment of pancreatic endocrine tumours (PETs) comes mostly from small, retrospective, uncontrolled studies.
Methods: Newly diagnosed, histologically proven PETs, observed from June 2004 to March 2007 in 24 Italian centres, were included in a specific dataset.
Results: Three-hundred and ten patients (mean age 57.6 years, females 46.6%) were analysed. At the time of recruitment, 262 (84.5%) underwent surgery. The percentage of operated patients was 91.9% and 62.0% in surgical and non-surgical centres, respectively. A curative resection was carried out in 83.6% (n = 219) of cases, a palliative resection (debulking) in 10.7% (n = 28), an exploratory laparotomy in 4.6% (n = 12), and a bypass procedure in 1.1% (n = 3). Laparoscopy was performed in 8.0% (n = 21) of cases. Resection consisted of a pancreatoduodenectomy in 46 cases (21.0%), a distal pancreatectomy in 95 (43.4%), an enucleation in 50 (22.8%), a middle pancreatectomy in 16 (7.3%) and a total pancreatectomy in 12 (5.5%). Liver resection was associated with pancreatic resection in 26 cases (9.9%). Post-operative mortality was 1.5% and morbidity 39.7%, respectively. A curative resection was performed more frequently in asymptomatic, small, non-metastatic, benign and at uncertain behaviour tumours, with low Ki67 values.
Conclusions: This study strongly indicates the fact that surgical resection represents the cornerstone treatment of PETs.