Background: Primary duodenal gastrinomas are now recognized as a common etiology for patients with sporadic Zollinger Ellison Syndrome (ZES); however, the clinical and pathologic features of this condition and long-term outcome after operation are not well characterized. Methods: Between November 1982 and September 2000, 63 patients diagnosed with sporadic ZES underwent resection of a primary duodenal gastrinoma and regional nodal metastases with curative intent. Data from a prospectively maintained database were reviewed for clinical and pathologic parameters relating to primary tumor size, location, frequency of lymph node metastases, and disease-specific and disease-free survival. Results: There were 41 males and 22 females (mean age, 48.6 years). The majority of duodenal gastrinomas were in the first or second portions of the duodenum (83%). Tumor size ranged from 0.2 to 2.0 cm with 62% measuring less than 1.0 cm. Sixty percent of individuals had regional lymph node metastases identified primarily in proximity to the primary tumor. At a median 10-year follow-up, the overall disease-specific and disease-free survivals were 100% and 60%, respectively. Actuarial 10-year disease-free survival was significantly higher for patients without lymph node metastases versus those with lymph node metastases (78% versus 48%, P = 0.0137). Conclusions: Duodenal gastrinomas in patients with sporadic ZES are frequently small, most commonly located in the proximal duodenum, and associated with regional lymph node metastases in 60%. Disease-free survival is lower for patients with regional lymph node metastases suggesting that a more systematic lymphadenectomy to extirpate occult disease may be indicated in this group.
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