Safety of Islet Autotransplantation Following Pancreatectomy for Adenocarcinoma

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total pancreatectomy with intraportal islet autotransplantation (TPIAT) rather than partial pancreatectomy could represent a major shift in the management of patients with resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) when risks of postoperative pancreatic fistula are well identified. This approach provides a theoretical risk of tumor cell dissemination when islet cells are transplanted into the portal vein. Our objective was to demonstrate the safety of TPIAT in PDAC in a mouse preclinical model of subcutaneous xenotransplantation of human cells isolated from pancreatic specimen during partial pancreatectomy performed for PDAC.


patients requiring pancreatectomy for PDAC were prospectively included. Immunocompromized mice were transplanted with pancreatic cells isolated from the nonmalignant part of the surgical specimen (experimental group). Results were compared to pancreatic tumor implants (control group). Pancreatic grafts were explanted at 6 weeks for histological analyses.


9 patients were included and 31 mice were transplanted. In the experimental group, explants were microscopically devoid of tumor cell and no metastasis was observed. In the control group, all explants were composed of tumor.


we report in a preclinical model the absence of local and distant spreading of malignant cells following pancreatic islets xenograft isolated from PDAC patients. These data supports the oncological safety of TPIAT as valuable alternative to partial pancreatectomy for PDAC patients with a high risk of postoperative pancreatic fistula.

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