Metastatic patterns of duodenopancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1

Wenzel M. Hackeng*, Dirk Jan van Beek, Aranxa S.M. Kok, Madelon van Emst, Folkert H.M. Morsink, Mark J.C. van Treijen, Inne H.M. Borel Rinkes, Koen M.A. Dreijerink, G. Johan A. Offerhaus, Gerlof D. Valk, Menno R. Vriens, Lodewijk A.A. Brosens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia 1 syndrome (MEN1) often develop multifocal duodenopancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (dpNETs). Nonfunctional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) and duodenal gastrinomas are the most frequent origins of metastasis. Current guidelines recommend surgery based on tumor functionality, size ≥ 2 cm, grade or presence of lymph node metastases. However, in case of multiple primary tumors it is often unknown which specific tumor metastasized. This study aims to unravel the relationship between primary dpNETs and metastases in patients with MEN1 by studying endocrine differentiation. First, it was shown that expression of the endocrine differentiation markers ARX and PDX1 was concordant in 18 unifocal sporadic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and matched metastases. Thereafter, ARX, PDX1, Ki67 and gastrin expression, and the presence of alternative lengthening of telomeres were determined in 137 microscopic and macroscopic dpNETs and 36 matched metastases in 10 patients with MEN1. ARX and PDX1 H-score clustering was performed to infer relatedness. For patients with multiple metastases, similar intrametastases transcription factor expression suggests that most metastases (29/32) originated from a single NET of origin, while few patients may have multiple metastatic primary NETs. In 6 patients with MEN1 and hypergastrinemia, periduodenopancreatic lymph node metastases expressed gastrin, and clustered with minute duodenal gastrinomas, not with larger PanNETs. PanNET metastases often clustered with high grade or alternative lengthening of telomeres-positive primary tumors. In conclusion, for patients with MEN1-related hypergastrinemia and PanNETs, a duodenal origin of periduodenopancreatic lymph node metastases should be considered, even when current conventional and functional imaging studies do not reveal duodenal tumors preoperatively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number2
Early online date23 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Duodenum
  • Gastrinoma
  • Lymph node
  • MEN1
  • Metastases
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1
  • Neuroendocrine tumor
  • Pancreas
  • multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1
  • duodenum
  • metastases
  • pancreas
  • lymph node
  • neuroendocrine tumor
  • gastrinoma
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms/chemistry
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Biomarkers, Tumor/analysis
  • Duodenal Neoplasms/chemistry
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Databases, Factual
  • Ki-67 Antigen/analysis
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1/chemistry
  • Homeodomain Proteins/analysis
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine/chemistry
  • Transcription Factors/analysis
  • Aged
  • Gastrins/analysis
  • Trans-Activators/analysis


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