Pancreatic Metastasis from Renal Carcinoma Managed by Whipple Resection. A Case Report and Literature Review of Metastatic Pattern, Surgical Management and Outcome

Context Metastatic cancer to the pancreas is rare and accounts for less than 2% of all pancreatic malignancies, metastasis from renal cell carcinoma being predominant. While symptomatic patients present with obstructive jaundice, abdominal pain, or GI bleeding, the diagnosis is often made in asymptomatic patients during follow-up for renal cell carcinoma. Hence, a high index of clinical suspicion is required in a patient who presents with a pancreatic tumor following a nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma. Case report We report the case of a patient in whom a lesion was detected in the head of the pancreas, following a nephrectomy performed 5 years previously for renal cell carcinoma. A magnetic resonance scan revealed a well-defined lesion in the head of the pancreas. The patient underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy and histopathology confirmed a metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Two years after the surgery, the patient is doing well. The literature is reviewed for pancreatic metastasis from renal cell carcinoma, for metastatic pattern, surgical management and outcome. Conclusion Pancreatic metastases are usually detected during the follow-up of patients having undergone a previous nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma. Typically, the interval between a nephrectomy and pancreatic metastasis is long. The literature contained more than 250 cases of pancreatic resection for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. The median duration of presentation was 10.5±6.5 years following a nephrectomy. The lesions are multifocal (3.2±1.5) in about 39% of patients and resectable in 80%. A high resectability rate is characteristic of metastasis from renal cell carcinoma as compared to primary pancreatic cancer. The five year survival rate is between 43 and 88%.


Norman Oneil Machado, Pradeep Chopra

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