Impact of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor on Mortality in Patients With von Hippel-Lindau Disease

Endocr Pract. 2021 Oct;27(10):1040-1045. doi: 10.1016/j.eprac.2021.03.005. Epub 2021 Mar 15.


Objective: The main causes for morbidity and mortality in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease are central nervous system hemangioblastoma and clear cell renal cell carcinoma, but the effect of VHL-related pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNET) on patient outcome is unclear. We assessed the impact of PNET diagnosis in patients with VHL on all-cause mortality (ACM) risk.

Methods: We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Of 16 344 patients, 170 had VHL based on clinical diagnostic criteria, and 510 patients had PNET (91 VHL-related and 419 sporadic).

Results: Survival analysis demonstrated a lower ACM among patients with VHL-related PNET compared to patients with sporadic PNET (log-rank test, P = .011). Among patients with VHL, ACM risk was higher with vs without PNET (P = .029). The subgroup analysis revealed a higher ACM risk with metastatic PNET (sporadic P = .0031 and VHL-related P = .08) and a similar trend for PNET diameter ≥3 cm (P = .06 and P = 0.1 in sporadic and VHL-related PNET, respectively). In a multivariable analysis of patients with VHL, diagnosis with PNET by itself was associated with a trend of lower risk for ACM, while presence of metastatic PNET was independently associated with increased ACM risk.

Conclusion: Diagnosis with PNET is not associated with a higher ACM risk in VHL by itself. The independent association of advanced PNET stage with higher mortality risk emphasizes the importance of active surveillance for detecting high-risk PNET at an early stage to allow timely intervention.

Keywords: all-cause mortality; neuroendocrine tumors; pancreas; von Hippel-Lindau.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / epidemiology
  • Hemangioblastoma* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease* / complications