Pancreatectomy for metastatic disease: a systematic review

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2014 Apr;40(4):379-86. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2013.12.022. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


Aim: Tumours rarely metastasise to the pancreas. While surgical resection of such metastases is believed to confer a survival benefit, there is limited data to support such management. We present a systematic review of case series of pancreatic metastasectomy and analysis of survival outcomes.

Methods: A literature search was performed using the PubMed and Cochrane databases and the reference lists of relevant articles, searching for sizeable case series of pancreatic metastasectomy with curative intent. Data extracted included basic demographics, histological primary tumour, presentation, operative management, complications and survival, while the MINORS index was used to assess study quality.

Results: 18 studies were found which met our inclusion criteria, involving 399 patients. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) was the commonest malignancy metastasising to the pancreas, responsible for 62.6% of cases, followed by sarcoma (7.2%) and colorectal carcinoma (6.2%). While survival data was not uniformly reported, the median survival post-metastasectomy was 50.2 months, with a one-year survival of 86.81% and five-year survival of 50.02%. Median survival for RCC was 71.7 months with 70.4% five-year survival. Median survival was similar in patients with synchronous and metachronous pancreatic metastases, but patients with additional extrapancreatic metastases had a significantly shorter survival than patients with isolated pancreatic metastases (26 versus 45 months). Study quality was poor, with a median MINORS score of 10/16.

Conclusions: Within the limitations of a review of non-randomised case series, it would appear that pancreatic metastasectomy confers a survival benefit in selected patients. Better evidence is required, but may prove difficult to acquire.

Keywords: Metastasectomy; Metastatic renal cell cancer; Pancreatectomy; Pancreatic metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / secondary
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Metastasectomy*
  • Pancreatectomy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Sarcoma / secondary
  • Sarcoma / surgery
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome