Rapid Communication| Volume 113, ISSUE 6, PA9, June 1993

Management of non-functioning neuroendocrine tumours of the pancreas

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      Between 1982 and 1991, 20 patients of median age 44 (range 22–76) years were treated for non-functioning neuroendocrine tumours of the pancreas. Presenting features were obstructive jaundice (seven patients), abdominal pain (seven), weight loss (six), abdominal mass (eight) and severe haemorrhage (four). Gut hormone profiles were normal except for one patient who had a raised pancreatic polypeptide level. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography localized the tumour in 17 patients and visceral angiography in 14 of 15; all but three tumours were highly vascular. Ten patients underwent curative resection, and the remainder were managed palliatively by resection (four), bypass procedures (three) or biopsy alone (three). There were two postoperative deaths and seven early complications. Seven of the remaining 18 patients have died from disease a median of 16 (range 4–30) months after presentation. The 11 survivors, eight of whom had curative resections, have been followed for a median of 42 (range 7–72) months. Ten patients are asymptomatic but only five are free from disease. These tumours are seldom curable by radical surgery, but patients may remain free from symptoms for many years.
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