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Chin Med J (Engl). 2007 Sep 5;120(17):1487-90.

Diagnosis and surgical treatment of pancreatic endocrine tumors in 36 patients: a single-center report.

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Department of Surgery, Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310006, China.



Pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs) are rare and their surgical treatment is often debated. The purpose of this retrospective study was to analyze the diagnosis and surgical strategy of functioning and non-functioning PETs.


From May 1980 to March 2006, 36 patients with pancreatic endocrine tumors at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University were retrospectively studied.


Among the 36 patients, 29 (81%) had functioning tumors, and 7 (19%) had nonfunctioning tumors. Ninety-two percent of insulinomas were benign, whereas 4 (57%) of nonfunctioning PETs were malignant. The size of functioning tumors was (2.3 +/- 0.3) cm, that of nonfunctioning tumors was less than (5.1 +/- 0.5) cm. The combination CT and transabdominal ultrasonography resulted in a diagnostic sensitivity of 84%. Thirty-three primary lesions were precisely located in 32 patients (89%). Atypical tumor resection was performed for 73% of functioning tumors, while typical pancreatectomy was performed for 6 (85%) of nonfunctioning tumors. Moreover, 5 liver resections and 1 lymph node dissection were performed. During the follow-up, fifteen complications occurred in 12 (36%) patients after operation. The 5-year survival rate for patients with benign tumors was 92% compared to 50% for those with malignant tumors. Surgical cure was achieved in 95% of patients with benign insulinomas.


Surgical strategy for PETs depends on the size and location of the tumor and the risk of malignancy. The optimal surgical procedure is key to prevent postoperative complication. Radical resection including initial and metastatic lesion may benefit patients with malignant PETs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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