Serotonin expression in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors correlates with a trabecular histologic pattern and large duct involvement.
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with prominent stromal fibrosis are often clinically, radiographically, and grossly indistinguishable from ductal adenocarcinoma. We recently described a small series of fibrotic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors that express serotonin. To understand better the relationship between histopathologic patterns and serotonin expression, we reviewed 361 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors to identify those with prominent stromal fibrosis exceeding 30% of total tumor area. We identified 52 cases and immunolabeled these neoplasms with antibodies to serotonin and Ki-67. Two predominant histologic subtypes were identified: 14 (26.9%) of 52 had a trabecular or trabecular-glandular cellular pattern with interspersed fibrosis, whereas 38 (73.1%) of 52 had solid architecture. Of the 52, 14 (26.9%) pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors showed at least focal serotonin immunoreactivity. Tumors with predominantly trabecular architecture were significantly more likely to express serotonin than those with solid architecture (P< .01). Only 2 of 34 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with fibrosis less than 30% of total tumor area expressed serotonin. The 14 serotonin-expressing tumors were less likely to have lymph node metastases (P = .016) and more likely to involve large pancreatic ducts (P< .01) than were the 38 serotonin-negative tumors. The serotonin-expressing tumors were also found in a younger patient population (P< .01). There was no significant association of serotonin immunoreactivity with Ki-67 proliferation index, tumor size, or distant metastases. Our data demonstrate a strong correlation between trabecular architecture and serotonin immunoreactivity in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with stromal fibrosis. Serotonin-expressing tumors are also less likely to have lymph node metastases and more likely to involve large pancreatic ducts.