Introduction: Due to the rarity of malignant insulinoma, a lack of the literature describing factors affecting outcomes exists. Our aim was to review malignant insulinoma incidence, characteristics and survival trends. Methods: We identified all patients with malignant insulinoma in the SEER registries from 1973 to 2015. Incidence, neoplasm characteristics and factors affecting cancer-specific survival (CSS) were described. Results: A total of 121 patients were identified. The crude annual overall incidence was low (range 0.0–0.27 cases per million person years). The largest proportion had localized disease (40%), while 16% had regional disease, 39% distant metastatic disease, and stage was unreported in 5%. Most neoplasms were in the body/tail of the pancreas, followed by the head of the pancreas. Grade was reported in 40% of patients; only a single patient reported as having grade IV with the remainder all grades I/II. Surgical resection was performed in 64% of patients. Within surgical patients, the median primary neoplasm size was 1.8 cm. Regional lymph nodes were examined in 57.1% of surgical patients, while 34% of examined nodes were positive. The median CSS was 183 months. On multivariable analysis, surgical resection, male sex and absence of metastatic disease were associated with superior survival. Conclusion: While the greatest proportion of patients with malignant insulinoma present with localized disease, regional lymph node involvement was found in 34% of whose nodes were tested. Further studies are needed to assess the role of lymph node dissection in improving survival and preventing recurrence given the observed frequency of lymph node involvement.
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