Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone-producing islet cell tumors of the pancreas (ACTH-ICT) are a rare cause of Cushing's syndrome with a severe and rapidly progressive clinical course.Charts were reviewed on all patients evaluated and treated for proven Cushing's syndrome caused by ACTH-ICT (n = 12), specifically for the role of surgery in the management of this disease.Ten (83%) of twelve patients with ACTH-ICT had liver metastases at the time of diagnosis (eight of eight with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, two of four without Zollinger-Ellison syndrome). Surgical management of the primary tumor included three patients who underwent distal pancreatectomy combined with hepatic resection and one patient who underwent laparoscopic enucleation of a tumor from the pancreatic tail. Eight of twelve patients underwent bilateral adrenalectomy to control symptoms of Cushing's syndrome, including three patients who underwent concurrent distal pancreatectomy and hepatic resection. Six of twelve patients died of the disease within 2 1/2 years of diagnosis, four are alive with progressive hepatic metastases, and one has biochemical evidence of disease.ACTH-ICT of the pancreas is an aggressive tumor, particularly when there is coproduction of gastrin. The benefit of aggressive surgical resection of primary or metastatic ACTH-ICT has not been established. However, palliative bilateral adrenalectomy is justified, because no patients had biochemical cures after aggressive surgical resection in this series.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995TH94700030
View details for PubMedID 7491532