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Ann Oncol. 2008 May;19(5):903-8. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdm552. Epub 2008 Jan 21.

Prognostic factors at diagnosis and value of WHO classification in a mono-institutional series of 180 non-functioning pancreatic endocrine tumours.

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  • 1Department of Surgical and Gastroenterological Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.



Non-functioning pancreatic endocrine tumours (NF-PETs) are an aggressive gastroenteropancreatic neoplasm. The present study assessed survival, value of World Health Organisation (WHO) classification and prognostic utility of clinicopathological parameters at diagnosis.


From 1990 to 2004, 180 patients with NF-PETs were entered in a prospective database, and predictors of prognosis were tested in uni- and multivariate models.


There were 25 (14%) benign lesions, 38 (21%) neoplasms of uncertain behaviour, 100 well-differentiated carcinomas (56%) and 17 poorly differentiated carcinomas (9%). Radical resection was possible in 93 cases (51.6%). Overall 5-, 10- and 15-year survival rates were 67%, 49.3% and 32.8%, respectively, and were significantly higher in radically resected patients (93%, 80.8% and 65.2%, respectively; P < 0.00001). By multivariate analysis, poor differentiation [hazard ratio (HR) 7.3; P = 0.0001], nodal metastases (HR 3.05; P = 0.02), liver metastases (HR 3.29; P = 0.003), K(i)-67 >5% (HR 2.5; P = 0.012) and weight loss (HR 3.06; P = 0.001) were significantly associated with mortality.


This study confirms the good long-term survival of patients with NF-PETs and the prognostic value of WHO classification, liver metastases, poor differentiation, Ki-67, nodal metastases and weight loss. These latter two parameters have a prognostic value similar to that of liver metastases and Ki-67.

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