Primary lymph node gastrinoma: A single institution experience

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Gastrinomas are rare neuroendocrine tumors that ectopically secrete gastrin and classically originate within the duodenum or pancreas. The presence of primary lymph node gastrinoma is controversial. We report on a single institution's experience with gastrinoma, with focus on primary lymph node tumors.


Patients who underwent operative resection of gastrinoma between 1992 and 2016 at a single institution were identified. A diagnosis of primary lymph node gastrinoma was defined as tumor confined to one or more resected peripancreatic lymph nodes, negative localization for any extra-nodal disease and normal gastrin postresection.


In the study, 39 consecutive patients underwent operative resection of gastrinoma. Mean age was 53 years and 49% were male. 93% of patients had successful preoperative localization. Furthermore, 19 patients (49%) underwent enucleation of their tumor and 14 (35.9%) a pancreatic resection. Overall 5- and 10-year survival for all patients was 80.8% and 60.7%, respectively. Primary lymph node gastrinoma was identified in 11 cases (28.2%). The presentation of primary lymph node and non-primary lymph node patients were similar. There was no significant difference in operation type, tumor size, or overall survival. At median follow-up of 59 months, patients with primary lymph node gastrinoma were less likely to have persistent or recurrent disease (9.1% vs 42.9%, P = .04).


This series supports the existence of primary lymph node gastrinomas, and indicates that as many as 1 in 4 patients with gastrinoma have this form of the disease. This entity should be considered when an isolated pathologic lymph node is identified, although thorough exploration is still recommended to exclude other occult disease.

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