Pancreatic surgery in infants with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and hyperinsulinism

J Pediatr Surg. 2013 Dec;48(12):2511-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2013.05.016.


Purpose: To present our experience in the care of infants with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) who required pancreatectomy for the management of severe Congenital Hyperinsulinism (HI).

Methods: We did a retrospective chart review of patients with BWS who underwent pancreatectomy between 2009 and 2012.

Results: Four patients with BWS and severe HI underwent pancreatectomy, 3 females and one male. Eight other BWS patients with HI could be managed medically. The diagnosis of BWS was established by the presence of mosaic 11p15 loss of heterozygosity and uniparental disomy in peripheral blood and/or pancreatic tissue. All patients had hypoglycemia since birth that did not respond to medical management with diazoxide or octreotide, and required glucose infusion rates of up to 30 mg/kg/min. Preoperative 18-F-DOPA PET/CT scans showed diffuse uptake of the radiotracer throughout an enlarged pancreas in three patients and a normal sized pancreas with a large area of focal uptake in the pancreatic body in one patient. None of the patients had mutations in the ABCC8 or KCNJ1 genes that are typically associated with diazoxide-resistant HI. Age at surgery was 1, 2, 4, and 12 months and the procedures were 85%, 95%, 90%, and 75% pancreatectomy, respectively, with the pancreatectomy extent tailored to HI severity. Pathologic analysis revealed marked diffuse endocrine proliferation throughout the pancreas that occupied up to 80% of the parenchyma with scattered islet cell nucleomegaly. One patient had a small pancreatoblastoma in the pancreatectomy specimen. The HI improved in all cases after the pancreatectomy, with patients being able to fast safely for more than 8 h. All patients are under close surveillance for embryonal tumors. One patient developed a hepatoblastoma at age 2.

Conclusion: The pathophysiology of HI in BWS patients is likely multifactorial and is associated with a dramatic increase in pancreatic endocrine tissue. Severe cases of HI that do not respond to medical therapy improve when the mass of endocrine tissue is reduced by subtotal or near-total pancreatectomy.

Keywords: Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome; Congenital Hyperinsulinism; Pancreatectomy.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome / complications
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome / surgery*
  • Congenital Hyperinsulinism / complications
  • Congenital Hyperinsulinism / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pancreatectomy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome