Most patients with Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (ZES), even those in whom gastrinoma is found and resected at initial operation, will suffer from persistent or recurrent disease in longterm followup. There is currently no consensus about managing patients with recurrent or persistent ZES. Our unit has historically maintained an aggressive approach toward monitoring and reoperation for patients with sporadic ZES.
We performed a review of a consecutive series of patients evaluated and managed at our institution between 1970 and 2007 for ZES. "Biochemical cure" was defined as normal serum gastrin assays and negative imaging studies. Reoperations were performed for elevations in serum gastrin assays and positive findings on imaging studies.
Fifty-two patients with sporadic ZES were analyzed. Median followup was 14 years. Among patients with sporadic ZES, 37 patients underwent operative management. The most common operations were resection of duodenal gastrinoma (n=8) and total gastrectomy (n=7). Nine patients underwent 15 reoperations for recurrent or persistent disease. "Biochemical cure" was obtained in four patients (44%) undergoing reoperation for ZES. Three of these patients remained without evidence of recurrence at 4, 9, and 12 years after their curative re-resection. Only one of nine patients who underwent reoperation died of metastatic gastrinoma.
Primary and reoperative surgery in patients with sporadic ZES results in a significant rate of "biochemical cure." In selected patients with recurrent or persistent disease, reoperation for resection of gastrinoma is associated with excellent longterm survival and is warranted.