This study aimed to evaluate the role of surgery for patients with high-grade pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma (hgPNEC) in a large Nordic multicenter cohort study. Prior studies evaluating the role of surgery for patients with hgPNEC are limited, and the benefit of the surgery is uncertain.
Data from patients with a diagnosis of hgPNEC determined between 1998 and 2012 were retrospectively registered at 10 Nordic university hospitals. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to compare the overall survival of different treatment groups, and Cox-regression analysis was used to evaluate factors potentially influencing survival.
The study registered 119 patients. The median survival period from the time of metastasis was 23 months for patients undergoing initial resection of localized nonmetastatic disease and chemotherapy at the time of recurrence (n = 14), 29 months for patients undergoing resection of the primary tumor and resection/radiofrequency ablation of synchronous metastatic liver disease (n = 12), and 13 months for patients with synchronous metastatic disease given systemic chemotherapy alone (n = 78). The 3-year survival rate after surgery of the primary tumor and metastatic disease was 69 %. Resection of the primary tumor was an independent factor for improved survival after occurrence of metastatic disease.
Patients with resected localized nonmetastatic hgPNEC and later metastatic disease seemed to benefit from initial resection of the primary tumor. Patients selected for resection of the primary tumor and synchronous liver metastases had a high 3-year survival rate. Selected patients with both localized hgPNEC and metastatic hgPNEC should be considered for radical surgical treatment.