The role of surgery in the management of isolated metastases to the pancreas

Sushanth Reddy, Christopher L. Wolfgang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Metastasectomy with curative intent has become standard practice for the management of some malignancies. Resection of isolated metastatic colorectal cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumours, neuroendocrine cancers, renal-cell cancer and sarcoma is associated with longer survival or even cure. The strongest evidence in favour of metastasectomy exists for colorectal cancer, in which resection of limited metastatic disease in some patients is associated with 5-year survival rates of more than 50%.1-3 High incidence of the disease, predictable tumour biology, and development of successful chemotherapies have encouraged metastasectomy. Furthermore, improved safety of complex surgeries over the past several decades has lowered the threshold for more aggressive surgical intervention. Most literature on metastasectomy pertains to the resection of disease involving the liver, lung, and brain. However, metastasectomy has been described for almost every organ system, including the pancreas. In this Review, we discuss resection of isolated cancer metastases to the pancreas. Pancreatic metastasectomy is most often done through a formal pancreatic resection such as pancreaticoduodenectomy or distal pancreatectomy. Less often, pancreatic metastasectomy is done by enucleation or a pancreas sparing operation such as a central pancreatectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalThe Lancet Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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