Surgical strategies for non-functioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours

Br J Surg. 2012 Nov;99(11):1562-8. doi: 10.1002/bjs.8892.


Background: The purpose of this study was to identify management strategies for non-functioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NF-PNETs) by analysis of surgical outcomes at a single institution.

Methods: Archived records of patients with NF-PNETs who underwent surgery between 1994 and 2010 were reviewed.

Results: Among 125 patients, the median tumour size was 2·5 (range 0·15-20·5) cm. Of the 51 NF-PNETs with a diameter of no more than 2 cm, 12 (24 per cent) were diagnosed as carcinoma. Overall 20 patients (16·0 per cent) had metastases to the lymph nodes. The minimum size of the tumour with lymph node metastasis was 1·2 cm. Having a NF-PNET of 2 cm or larger significantly increased the probability of a poorly differentiated carcinoma (P = 0·006), and having a NF-PNET of at least 2·5 cm significantly increased the probability of lymph node metastasis (P = 0·048). The 5-year cumulative survival rate after curative resection was 89·7 per cent. During a median follow-up of 31·5 months, there were 27 recurrences (23·1 per cent) and 13 disease-specific deaths (11·1 per cent) among the 117 patients who had an R0 resection. All patients who underwent repeat operations were alive without additional recurrence after a mean(s.d.) follow-up of 27·1(18·0) months.

Conclusion: Curative surgery should be performed for control of primary NF-PNETs. Lymph node dissection for NF-PNETs of 2·5 cm or larger and at least node sampling for tumours with a diameter of 1 cm or more are recommended. Debulking surgery should be considered for advanced tumours.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Reoperation
  • Tumor Burden
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Non functioning pancreatic endocrine tumor