Wang, Yi-Zarn; Mayhall, George; Anthony, Lowell B.; Campeau, Richard J.; Boudreaux, J. Philip; Woltering, Eugene A.
BACKGROUND:; The incidence, clinical importance, and optimal management of cervical and upper mediastinal lymph node metastasis from gastrointestinal and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETS) are largely unknown. Historically, cervical nodes have been regarded as asymptomatic and ignored. We hypothesized that these lesions have clinical implications and should be removed surgically.; STUDY DESIGN:; Consecutive In-111 pentetreotide scans (OctreoScan) performed at our institution from May 2008 to October 2010 were reviewed to determine the incidence of cervical and upper mediastinal lymph node metastases among patients with gastrointestinal and pancreatic NETs. The charts of surgically treated patients were reviewed to evaluate the clinical importance of these metastases and the subsequent outcomes of their surgical treatment.; RESULTS:; A total of 161 NET patients presented with positive OctreoScans. Fourteen patients (8.7%) scanned positive for cervical and upper mediastinal lymph node metastasis. Nine patients underwent surgical exploration; 8 had successful removal of their metastatic nodes. Seven had clinical symptoms that resolved after surgery.; CONCLUSIONS:; Cervical and upper mediastinal lymph node metastases from gastrointestinal and pancreatic NETs were seen in up to 8.7% of patients. In the past, these metastases were assumed to be insignificant and ignored. Our study clearly demonstrates that most, if not all, such metastases are symptomatic and their clinical implications should not be overlooked. Notably, these metastases can be easily and safely resected using radioguided surgery. (J Am Coll Surg 2012;214:1017-1022. (C) 2012 by the American College of Surgeons)