Indications and results of liver resection and hepatic chemoembolization for metastatic gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors

Surgery. 2001 Oct;130(4):677-82; discussion 682-5. doi: 10.1067/msy.2001.117377.


Background: We reviewed 36 patients with liver metastases from islet cell tumors of the pancreas (n = 18) and carcinoid tumors (n = 18) who were treated with surgical resection (n = 16) or hepatic chemoembolization (n = 20).

Methods: All resections were complete and included 4 lobectomies, 6 segmental resections, and 6 wedge resections. There were no operative deaths.

Results: Median survival has not yet been reached, and the actuarial 5-year survival rate is 70%. Prognostic variables associated with improved disease-free survival included prior resection of the primary tumor and 4 or fewer metastases resected (P <.05). With an average of 3 chemoembolization procedures per patient, 17 of 20 patients (90%) demonstrated either a significant radiographic response (n = 5), stabilization of tumor mass (n = 2), or improvement of clinical symptoms (n = 10). Factors related to a sustained response (more then 1 year) included surgical resection of the primary tumor, 4 or more chemoembolization procedures, and liver metastases of 5 cm or smaller. Median survival after treatment was 32 months (range, 7-63 months), and the actuarial 5-year survival rate was 40%.

Conclusions: Surgical resection of metastatic neuroendocrine tumors provides the best chance for extended survival. Chemoembolization effectively improves clinical symptoms and, in selected patients, may provide sustained tumor control.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoid Tumor / therapy*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Hepatectomy*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Survival Rate