Resection of primary tumor site is associated with prolonged survival in metastatic nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

Surgery. 2016 Jan;159(1):311-8. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2015.05.042. Epub 2015 Oct 6.


Background: Nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NFpNET) present with distant metastases in up to 50% of patients. It is unknown whether removal of the primary tumor in patients with NFpNET and metastases is beneficial.

Methods: We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database to identify patients with NFpNET and distant metastases. The primary outcome measure in this study was overall survival.

Results: We identified 882 patients with metastatic NFpNET who had survival data; 303 (34%) patients had operative removal of their primary tumor of which 243 (80%) were grade I or II. Median survival of patients undergoing resection of the primary site was 65 (95% confidence interval 60-86) versus 10 (8-12) months for those without resection (P < .0001). Patients diagnosed after 2003 (n = 625, 71%) were more likely to undergo an operation than those diagnosed earlier (P = .001). Multivariable analysis showed that a lesser tumor grade (P < .0001), younger age (P < .0001), diagnosis during or after 2003 (P = .0003), tumor site in the body/tail (P = .009), and operative resection of the primary tumor site (P < .0001) were associated with prolonged survival of patients with NFpNET and distant metastases.

Conclusion: This study suggests that resection of the site of the primary NFpNET is associated with greater survival in patients with distant metastases and could therefore be considered as a additional treatment option in this patient population.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / secondary
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / surgery*
  • Pancreas / surgery*
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / secondary
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • SEER Program
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States

Supplementary concepts

  • Non functioning pancreatic endocrine tumor