Endocrine tumours of the gastrointestinal tract. Surgical treatment of neuroendocrine metastases. Best practice & research. Clinical gastroenterology Norton, J. A. 2005; 19 (4): 577-583


Neuroendocrine tumors of the intestinal tract have low malignant potential but can result in decreased survival if they spread to the liver. The estimated 5-year survival of patients with liver metastases from neuroendocrine tumor is only 20%. Further, morbidity related to the Carcinoid Syndrome and other endocrine symptoms may also greatly reduce the quality of life. Treatment options for liver neuroendocrine tumor include long-acting somatostatin receptor antagonists (LAR), inteferon-alpha, chemotherapy and hepatic artery embolisation with and without chemotherapy. Surgical resection is feasible in select patients, but it may result in major morbidity and even mortality. In our series of 18 patients with liver neuroendocrine tumors, there was no operative mortality and acceptable morbidity. All 10 patients with the Carcinoid syndrome had complete amelioration of symptoms and the 5-year actuarial survival was 80%. Aggressive major surgery for liver neuroendocrine tumor metastases can be performed safely with acceptable mortality by experienced surgeons. Results have been similar for patients with gastrinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Surgical resection appears to result in outstanding long-term survival and amelioration of symptoms. It should be the first-line therapy for patients with liver neuroendocrine tumors in whom the tumor can be completely removed.

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