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Surgery. 1984 Dec;96(6):1027-37.

Metastatic insulin-secreting carcinoma of the pancreas: clinical course and the role of surgery.


We reviewed our personal experience with insulin-secreting carcinoma of the pancreas to determine the clinical course and the role of surgery in this disease. Seventeen patients with high-grade metastatic carcinoma were treated at our institution between 1957 and 1982. To this series we have added 45 cases of metastatic carcinoma reported in the literature. All patients had symptoms with manifestations of hypoglycemia. Patients with metastatic insulin-secreting carcinoma had an average age of 48.5 years, with male predominance. The average duration of symptoms at presentation was 2.0 years. The tumors were usually single and averaged 6.2 cm. All tumors had metastases, most commonly to the liver and/or lymph nodes. The median disease-free survival after curative resection was 5 years. The recurrence rate was 63%, with the median interval to recurrence 2.8 years, and the median survival with recurrent tumor was 19 months. Palliative resection was associated with a median survival of 4 years, and biopsy only, 11.0 months. Insulin-secreting carcinomas are slow-growing tumors with significant metastatic potential. Surgical resection of primary and metastatic tumors represents the treatment of choice when possible. Long-term follow-up is required.

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