Radiofrequency ablation of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: A pilot study of feasibility, efficacy, and safety

Sandro Rossi, Francesca Torello Viera, Giorgia Ghittoni, Lorenzo Cobianchi, Laura Lavinia Rosa, Luisa Siciliani, Chandra Bortolotto, Letizia Veronese, Alessandro Vercelli, Anna Gallotti, Valentina Ravetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study aimed to assess the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). Methods: We performed RFA on 10 patients (7 women) aged 38 to 75 years with histologically diagnosed PNETs (secreting in 3 cases) who could not or would not undergo surgical resection. Tumor nodules (diameter, 0.9-2.9 cm; mean [SD], 1.6 [0.5] cm) were located in the head (n = 7) or body (n = 3) of the pancreas. Ultrasound-guided RFA was performed percutaneously (n = 7), endoscopically (n = 1), or intraoperatively (n = 2) using commercially available equipment. Complete ablation was defined as absence of enhancing tissue at the tumor site on contrast-enhanced imaging studies and normalization of previously elevated serum hormone levels. Results: Complete ablation was achieved with 1 (n = 9) or 2 (n = 1) RFA procedures. All neuroendocrine syndromes regressed within 24 hours of treatment. No recurrences were observed during follow-up (range, 12-60 months; median [SD], 34 [14] months). No deaths occurred. Major complications included acute pancreatitis in 3 patients, 2 of whom developed pancreatic fluid collections that were successfully managed with ultrasound-guided drainage and endoscopy. Conclusions: Radiofrequency ablation is a feasible, safe, and effective option for patients with small PNETs who cannot or do not want to undergo surgical resection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938-945
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • echoendoscopy
  • minimally invasive therapy
  • neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • radiofrequency ablation
  • ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Medicine(all)


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