Predicting prognosis in gastroentero-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: an overview and the value of Ki-67 immunostaining

Endocr Pathol. Winter 2008;19(4):282-8. doi: 10.1007/s12022-008-9044-0.


Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETS) are unusual and rare neoplasms for which prognostic assessment and the diagnosis of malignancy, on the basis of histology alone, represent considerable challenges for the pathologist. To date, many molecular markers have been identified with a view to providing accurate and timely prediction of response to treatment and long-term survival. Proliferation remains a key feature of tumor progression, which has been widely estimated by the immunohistochemical use of the Ki-67 nuclear antigen. Given the continued difficulties inherent in prediction of malignancy in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PETs) in particular, it has become unclear whether Ki-67 is truly a reliable prognostication marker. This review seeks to better establish what the consensus is on the role of the Ki-67 proliferation index as a prognostic indicator of long-term outcome in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. We conclude that most studies favor the utility of the Ki-67 proliferation index despite different critical percentages and in concert with other pathological parameters in the routine work-up of PETs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / diagnosis*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Ki-67 Antigen