Reappraisal of a 2-Cm Cut-Off Size for the Management of Cystic Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Neoplasms: A Multicenter International Study

Ann Surg. 2019 Jul 24. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003508. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

MINI: The characteristics of cystic pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (cPanNENs) are largely unknown, and their clinical management remains unclear; specifically, an observational strategy for asymptomatic cPanNENs ≤2 cm has been proposed by recent guidelines, but evidence is scarce and limited to single institutional series. In this international cohort study of 263 resected cPanNENs from 16 institutions worldwide, a preoperative size >2 cm was independently associated with aggressive behavior both in the whole cohort and in the subset of asymptomatic patients; notably, only 1 of 61 asymptomatic cPanNENs ≤2 cm was aggressive. Based on these results, a watch-and-wait policy for sporadic asymptomatic cPanNENs ≤2 cm seems justified and safe.

Objective: The aim of this study was to characterize an international cohort of resected cystic pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (cPanNENs) and identify preoperative predictors of aggressive behavior.

Background: The characteristics of cPanNENs are unknown and their clinical management remains unclear. An observational strategy for asymptomatic cPanNENs ≤2 cm has been proposed by recent guidelines, but evidence is scarce and limited to single-institutional series.

Methods: Resected cPanNENs (1995-2017) from 16 institutions worldwide were included. Solid lesions (>50% solid component), functional tumors, and MEN-1 patients were excluded. Aggressiveness was defined as lymph node (LN) involvement, G3 grading, distant metastases, and/or recurrence.

Results: Overall, 263 resected cPanNENs were included, among which 177 (63.5%) were >2 cm preoperatively. A preoperative diagnosis of cPanNEN was established in 162 cases (61.6%) and was more frequent when patients underwent endoscopic ultrasound [EUS, odds ratio (OR) 2.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.52-4.77] and somatostatin-receptor imaging (OR 3.681, 95% CI 1.809-7.490), and for those managed in specialized institutions (OR 3.12, 95% CI 1.57-6.21). Forty-one cPanNENs (15.6%) were considered aggressive. In the whole cohort, LN involvement on imaging, age >65 years, preoperative size >2 cm, and pancreatic duct dilation were independently associated with aggressive behavior. In asymptomatic patients, older age and a preoperative size >2 cm remained independently associated with aggressiveness. Only 1 of 61 asymptomatic cPanNENs ≤2 cm displayed an aggressive behavior.

Conclusions: The diagnostic accuracy of cPanNENs is increased by the use of EUS and somatostatin-receptor imaging and is higher in specialized institutions. Preoperative size >2 cm is independently associated with aggressive behavior. Consequently, a watch-and-wait policy for sporadic asymptomatic cPanNENs ≤2 cm seems justified and safe for most patients.