Journal of the Pancreas Open Access

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Pancreaticoduodenectomy for Pancreatic Metastases from Breast Carcinoma

Stefano Crippa, Franco Uggeri, Claudia Bonardi, Chiara Mussi, Carlo Angelini, Giorgio Bovo

Context Unlike primary pancreatic carcinoma, metastases to the pancreas are rare events and their resection may be performed as a palliative treatment. The aim of this study was to review our experience with the operative management of pancreatic metastases from breast carcinoma. Case report Three patients underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy for pancreatic metastases from breast carcinoma between 1990 and 2002. The clinical features of and the results after resection were examined. The presenting clinical symptoms were jaundice, pain and weight loss. In all cases, the pancreatic metastases were solitary lesions located in the head of the pancreas and the intervals between the primary breast carcinoma and the pancreatic metastases were 3, 5 and 7 years. The primary tumor was lobular carcinoma. Metastases were initially misdiagnosed as primary cancers. All patients underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy. One patient died from disseminated metastatic disease 26 months after surgery. The other two patients are alive 37 and 21 months after pancreaticoduodenectomy; the second one has  had recurrence of the disease. Conclusion In rare cases, the pancreas may be the presenting site for breast metastases, typically years after treating the primary tumor. Pancreaticoduodenectomy can be performed in the absence of extreme metastatic disease; it can provide worthwhile palliation and improve survival..