Surgical resection of neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas (pNETs) by minimally invasive surgery: the laparoscopic approach
Neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas (pNETs) are a rare group of neoplasms that originate from the endocrine portion of the pancreas. Tumors that either secrete or do not secrete compounds, resulting in symptoms, can be classified as functioning and non-functioning pNETs, respectively. The prevalence of such tumors has recently increased due to the use of more sensitive imaging techniques, such as multidetector computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and endoscopic ultrasound. The biological behavior of pNETs varies widely from indolent, well-differentiated tumors to those that are far more aggressive. The most effective and radical treatment for pNETs is surgical resection. Over the last decade, minimally invasive surgery has been increasingly used in pancreatectomy, with laparoscopic pancreatic surgery (LPS) emerging as an alternative to open pancreatic surgery (OPS) in patients with pNETs. Non-comparative studies have shown that LPS is safe and effective. In well-selected groups of patients with pancreatic lesions, LPS was found to results in good perioperative outcomes, including reduced intraoperative blood loss, postoperative pain, time to recovery, and length of hospital stay. Despite the encouraging results of studies from highly specialized centers with extensive experience, no randomized trials to date have conclusively validated these findings. Indications for minimally invasive LPS for patients with pNETs remain unclear. This review presents the current state of LPS for pNETs.