Article Abstract

Role of surgery in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor

Authors: Kai Pun Wong, Julian Shun Tsang, Brian Hung-Hin Lang


Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs) are rare. They are generally accepted to be slowgrowing and have an indolent course. These tumours can be non-functioning or functioning, consisting of a biochemically heterogeneous group of tumours including insulinomas, gastrinomas, carcinoids and glucagonomas. Although surgery remains the mainstay of treatment, controversy still exists especially for non-functioning tumours <2 cm in size. Whether these should be resected or undergo intensive surveillance remains unclear. The surgical approach depends on local expertise. Many studies have shown comparable short-term surgical outcome with laparoscopic pancreatic resection compared to open techniques, however data on long-term oncological outcome are still lacking. On the other hand, liver metastasis occurs in as high as 80% of PNET patients. Five-year survival rate is only 30% if left untreated compared to 60–80% if complete resection is achieved. Current evidence supports liver resection with an aim for symptomatic control and to improve survival in those with respectable disease and no extra-hepatic metastasis. Palliative debunking can be considered in those with intractable symptoms. This article reviews the current evidence on pancreatic resection for PNETs, in particular the role of laparoscopic resection and the management of liver metastasis.