Long Survival and Prolonged Remission after Surgery and Chemotherapy in a Metastatic Mismatch Repair Deficient Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma with MLH1/PMS2 Immunodeficiency and Minimal Microsatellite Shift

Endocr Pathol. 2020 Dec;31(4):411-417. doi: 10.1007/s12022-020-09622-5.


Pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are rare and very aggressive neoplasms with dismal prognosis, especially when metastatic or with negative prognostic factors, such as vascular invasion. To the best of our knowledge, no case of pancreatic NEC with mismatch repair deficiency has been reported to date. We describe a 62-year-old patient who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy for a NEC located in the pancreatic head, with peripancreatic lymph node metastases. Tumor necrosis was prominent and the Ki67 proliferative index was 60%. One year after the diagnosis, the patient experienced recurrence with a left supraclavicular lymph node metastasis, which was surgically removed, followed by standard cisplatin-etoposide chemotherapy. Neoplastic cells showed combined loss of expression of MLH1 and PMS2 in both primary tumor and lymph node metastasis. Microsatellite instability (MSI) test using a mononucleotide repeats pentaplex PCR (BAT-25, BAT-26, NR-21, NR-22, and NR-24) revealed minimal mononucleotide shifts showing deletion of less than 3 bp at NR-21, BAT-26, NR-24, and NR-22 loci. MLH1 methylation analysis revealed absence of the gene promoter methylation. BRAF and KRAS mutations were not detected. In gut, NECs' mismatch repair deficiency phenotype has been reported in about 10% of cases, and it represents an independent factor of more favorable outcome. Likewise, our patient is currently alive with a follow-up of more than 12 years after pancreaticoduodenectomy, by itself an unexpected finding for such an aggressive neoplasm.

Keywords: MLH1; Microsatellite instability; Minimal microsatellite shift; Neuroendocrine carcinoma; Pancreas; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine* / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine* / therapy
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • DNA Mismatch Repair / physiology
  • Etoposide / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Middle Aged
  • Mismatch Repair Endonuclease PMS2 / deficiency*
  • MutL Protein Homolog 1 / deficiency*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy / methods
  • Remission Induction


  • MLH1 protein, human
  • Etoposide
  • PMS2 protein, human
  • Mismatch Repair Endonuclease PMS2
  • MutL Protein Homolog 1
  • Cisplatin