Pancreatic islet cell tumors

Surgery. 1986 Jun;99(6):671-8.


Tumors arising from the pancreatic islet cells represent a heterogeneous group of lesions. Some tumors present with well-characterized syndromes, while others appear to be nonfunctioning. Eighty-four patients with pancreatic islet cell tumors operated on at the Cleveland Clinic during a 35-year period were reviewed. The tumor types include 21 nonfunctioning tumors, 41 insulinomas, 16 gastrinomas, two vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-omas, two carcinoids, and two probable cases of pancreatic parathyrinoma. Eleven patients had multiple endocrine neoplasia type I syndrome. Preoperative localization was possible in 63% of patients in whom it was attempted. Complete mobilization of the head and distal pancreas with bimanual palpation of the entire gland is critical for intraoperative tumor localization. Distal pancreatectomy is favored for tumors in the body and tail. In the head of the pancreas, small, benign lesions require enucleation, and large or malignant lesions necessitate a Whipple procedure. The operative morbidity rate was 24%, and the mortality rate was 3.6%. The 10-year survival rate was 54.7% for nonfunctioning lesions, 68.4% for gastrinomas, and 92.4% for insulinomas. At this time surgery represents the only way to cure these lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis
  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / mortality
  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / pathology
  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / surgery*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia / surgery
  • Palliative Care
  • Palpation
  • Pancreatectomy / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Risk