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Incidentally discovered nonfunctioning pancreatic endocrine tumors (NF-pNETs) increasingly are being detected, and their management is debated. Moreover, the prognostic importance of incidental diagnosis for locally advanced or metastatic NF-pNETs is unknown. The aim of this study is to analyze the outcomes of incidentally discovered/symptomatic NF-pNETs stratified by tumor stage. A preliminary experience with nonoperative treatment of incidental NF-pNETs is reported. Consecutive patients with symptomatic/incidental NF-PETs observed between 1990 and 2009 were analyzed, with different tumor stages considered. Nonoperative management of incidental NF-pNETs was evaluated. Among 355 patients with NF-pNETs, the diagnosis was incidental in 124 (35%). Incidental NF-pNETs were associated more commonly with lower tumor stages compared with symptomatic tumors (P < .0001), but 30% of incidental NF-pNETs were stage III-IV. Incidental NF-pNETs had greater rates of radical resections and of R0 margins (P < .0001). Five-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 83% and 32% for incidental and symptomatic NF-pNETs, respectively (P < .0001). Five-year PFS was better for incidental NF-pNETs compared with symptomatic tumors for each tumor stage, including stage III (69% vs 27%, P < .0001) and stage IV (60% vs 17%, P = .112). After a median follow-up of 36 months, there was no tumor progression in 12 patients who underwent nonoperative management of incidental NF-pNETs. A total of 30% of incidental NF-pNETs present with stage III-IV disease. PFS is much greater for incidental NF-pNETs compared with symptomatic patients, and this difference is evident also for stage III-IV tumors, suggesting that absence of symptoms may indicate a less-aggressive disease. Nonoperative management can be an alternative to surgery in selected incidental NF-pNETs. Copyright © 2014 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.


Stefano Crippa, Stefano Partelli, Giuseppe Zamboni, Aldo Scarpa, Domenico Tamburrino, Claudio Bassi, Paolo Pederzoli, Massimo Falconi. Incidental diagnosis as prognostic factor in different tumor stages of nonfunctioning pancreatic endocrine tumors. Surgery. 2014 Jan;155(1):145-53

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PMID: 24646958

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