Pancreatic duct stenosis secondary to small endocrine neoplasms: A manifestation of serotonin production?

Chanjuan Shi, Stanley S. Siegelman, Satomi Kawamoto, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Richard D. Schulick, Anirban Maitra, Ralph H. Hruban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine if serotonin production by pancreatic endocrine neoplasms is associated with the pancreatic duct stenosis seen in patients with stenosis that is out of proportion to the size of the tumors seen on computed tomographic images. Materials and Methods: Institutional approval was obtained for this HIPAA-compliant study. Informed consent was waived. Clinical and radiologic findings in six patients were reviewed. Gross and histologic findings in the resected pancreata were also assessed. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor sections were immunolabeled with antibodies to serotonin. Tissue microarrays constructed from 47 pancreatic endocrine neoplasms from the institutional tissue bank served as controls. Histologic and serotonin immunoreactivity findings were compared between the two groups. The Fisher exact test was used to compare serotonin immunoreactivity. Results: Only one of the six study patients had a large dominant tumor (4 cm in the pancreatic head). All others were 2.5 cm or smaller. Four of the six pancreatic endocrine neoplasms with associated pancreatic duct stricture had prominent stromal fibrosis. Serotonin immunoreactivity was present in five (83%) patients, and this labeling was strong and diffuse in the four patients with prominent fibrosis. By contrast, stromal fibrosis was minimal in the nonimmunoreactive case. Only three (6%) of the 47 control pancreatic endocrine neoplasms were immunoreactive for serotonin (P < .01, Fisher exact test). Conclusion: These data suggest that serotonin produced by pancreatic endocrine neoplasms may be associated with local fibrosis and stenosis of the pancreatic duct. Clinicians should be aware that small pancreatic endocrine neoplasms can produce pancreatic duct stenosis resulting in ductal dilatation and/or upstream pancreatic atrophy out of proportion to the size of the tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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