Background Non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NF-PNET) are rare neoplasms being increasingly diagnosed. Surgical treatment or expectant management are both suggested for small NF-PNETs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcome of surveillance strategy for small NF-PNETs. Methods A systematic search was performed up to March 2016 in MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library according to the PRISMA guidelines. Data was pooled using the random-effects model. Results Nine articles including 344 patients with sporadic and 64 patients with MEN1 related NF-PNET were selected. Tumor growth was observed in 22% and 52%, development of metastases were reported on 0% and 9%, and rate of secondary surgical resection was 12% and 25% in patients with sporadic or MEN1 related NF-PNETs, respectively. All metastases (1 distant, 4 nodal) were reported by a single study in patients with MEN1. Reason for secondary surgery was tumor growth in half of patients undergoing surgery. Discussion Expectant management of small asymptomatic, sporadic, NF-PNETs could be a reasonable option in highly selected patients. However, the level of evidence is low and longer follow-up is needed to identify patients could benefit from upfront surgery instead of expectant treatment.