Liver metastases of neuroendocrine carcinomas: interventional treatment via transarterial embolization, chemoembolization and thermal ablation

Eur J Radiol. 2009 Dec;72(3):517-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2008.08.008. Epub 2008 Oct 1.


The aim of this review article is to provide a practical clinical guideline for indication, technical aspects, protocol guideline and strategies for the interventional treatment of liver metastases from neuroendocrine tumors and focusing on the results of various protocols of management. The response to therapy, in the published articles, is calculated on the basis of the following clinical parameters; including symptomatic response (SR), biologic response (BR), morphological response (MR), progress free survival (PFS), and survival periods (SP). Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) has been associated with SR rates of 60-95%, BR of 50-90%, MR of 33-80%, SR of 20-80 months, and a 5-year survival of between 50% and 65%. PFS was also between 18 and 24 months. In the transarterial embolization (TAE) group, SR was similar to the TACE group, MR was 32% and 82%, survival was between 18 and 88 months with a survival rate of 40-67%, and BR was between 50% and 69%. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), either percutaneous or during surgery, has been associated with SR of 71-95% for a mean duration of 8-10 months, BR of 65%, and mean SP of 1.6 years after ablation. The mean survival following surgical resection for operable cases is 4.26 years+/-S.D.: 1.1.

Conclusion: The interventional protocols for the management of liver metastases from neuroendocrine tumors: for oligonodular liver metastatic deposits, local resection or RFA and/or LITT is recommended, while in multinodular diseases with higher tumor load, TACE or TAE is recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / therapy*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Hemostatics / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / methods*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Hemostatics