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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2015 April;70(2):131-9

language: English

Metastatic pancreatic tumors: what is the optimal treatment?

Sperti C., Merigliano S., Moletta L.

Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, 3rd Surgical Clinic, University of Padua, Padua, Italy


Although rare, metastases to the pancreas from other primary tumors are increasingly recognized in clinical practice, but the optimal treatment remains unclear. When a careful staging is performed and widespread disease is excluded, the indication of pancreatectomy may arise. This study was designated to review the published literature on the results of surgical treatment for the most common malignancies metastasizing to the pancreas. Analysis of the reports show that resection can be performed safely, but long term survival is substantially influenced by the tumor’s biology. There are convincing evidences that pancreatic resection for metastasis from renal cell cancer may offer excellent results in term of prolonged survival, while for other type of cancer, pancreatic resection should be considered only a palliative procedure, with only anedoctical reported long-term survivors. So, comparison of the results of surgical and non-surgical management of metastatic tumors to the pancreas is very difficult to perform. There is a need of studies evaluating the role of chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting or the best sequential use of multimodality treatment (targeted therapy, radiotherapy, surgery, etc.). At the moment, pancreatic resection for metastasis should be reserved to patients in good health conditions, with isolated disease from renal cell cancer. For other types of tumor, surgery should be performed only in individual basis.

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