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Pancreatology. 2019 Aug 16. pii: S1424-3903(19)30686-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2019.08.005. [Epub ahead of print]

A rational approach to postoperative surveillance for resected non-functional pancreatic neuro-endocrine tumours.

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Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) Surgical Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK. Electronic address:
Department of Statistics, University of Cambridge, UK.
Department of Oncology, University College London, UK.
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) Surgical Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.



Non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NF-PNETs) are rare and have highly variable outcomes. Current guidelines recommend surveillance for NF-PNETs <2 cm. Patients who ultimately have surgical resection are at risk of disease recurrence, and data to support postoperative surveillance protocols are lacking. The aims of this study were to i) identify post-operative predictors of recurrence and ii) risk stratify patients at risk of recurrence.


Consecutive patients who underwent surgery for NF-PNETs between 2002 and 2015 were identified retrospectively. Data were collected on demographics, pre-operative laboratory results and histopathological tumour characteristics. Statistical analyses were based on penalised Cox-regression modelling and a decision-tree model. Comparison of the variables identified was performed using ROC curves to identify the most sensitive and specific variable associated with disease recurrence.


We identified 73 patients (38 males) with a median age of 61.5 years (range: 31-79). The median period of follow-up was 49 months (5-131). During follow up, 10 deaths (13.9%) were recorded and disease recurrence occurred in 12 patients (16.4%). The Kaplan-Meier predicted 1-,3- and 5-year recurrence-free survival rates were 98.6% (95% CI = 95.9, 100%), 85.4% (76.9-94.8%) and 72% (58.7-88.2%) respectively. Cox multivariate analysis identified poor tumour differentiation (WHO G3 grade) and lymph node ratio (LNR) as independent predictors for recurrence (p < 0.05). A simple criterion of 'tumour grade G3 or LNR ≥0.1' was found to be sensitive and specific in detecting disease recurrence.


Our results have identified a simple and sensitive criterion for risk stratifying post-resection surveillance. Prospective validation in larger patient cohort is now warranted.


Lymph node metastasis; Neuroendocrine tumour; Pancreas; Recurrence; Survival


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