Background/objectives: The biological features of cystic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) remain unclear. The aim of this study was to clarify the clinicopathological characteristics of non-functioning PNETs (NF-PNETs) with a cystic component. Methods: The medical records of 75 patients with NF-PNETs who had undergone resection in our institution were retrospectively reviewed. Clinicopathological factors were compared between PNETs with and without a cystic component. Expression of somatostatin 2 receptor (SSTR-2) was also analyzed. Results: Cystic PNETs were diagnosed in 14 patients (19%). The proportion of men was significantly higher for cystic than solid PNETs (79% vs. 44%, P < 0.05) and cystic PNETs were significantly larger than solid PNETs (25 mm vs. 17 mm, P < 0.01). However, there were no significant differences in the prevalence of lymph node metastases (14% vs. 10%, P = 0.64), hepatic metastasis (7% vs. 3%, P = 0.54), or disease-free survival rate (both 86%, P = 0.29) between PNETs with and without a cystic component. SSTR-2 expression was more frequently observed in PNETs with a cystic component than in those without (100% vs. 70%, P < 0.01). Conclusions: Although cystic PNETs were larger upon diagnosis than solid PNETs in this study, prognosis after surgical resection did not differ significantly between these types of PNET. Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy and somatostatin analogues may be more useful for diagnosing and treating cystic PNETs, respectively.
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