Treatment of liver metastases from neuroendocrine tumours in relation to the extent of hepatic disease

Br J Surg. 2009 Feb;96(2):175-84. doi: 10.1002/bjs.6468.


Background: Hepatic surgery is presumed to improve survival of patients with liver metastases (LM) from neuroendocrine tumours (NET). This study identified LM-specific variables that could be used as additional selection criteria for aggressive treatment.

Methods: A novel classification of LM from NET was established based on their localization and presentation.

Results: From 1992 to 2006, 119 patients underwent staging and treatment of LM. Three growth types of LM were identified radiologically: single metastasis (type I), isolated metastatic bulk accompanied by smaller deposits (type II) and disseminated metastatic spread (type III). The three groups differed significantly in terms of chronological presentation of LM, hormonal symptoms, Ki-67 index, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and chromogranin A levels, lymph node involvement, presence of bone metastases and treatment options. The 3-, 5- and 10-year disease-specific survival rates for the entire cohort were 76.4, 63.9 and 46.5 per cent respectively. There were significant differences in survival between the three groups: 5- and 10-year rates were both 100 per cent for type I, 84 and 75 per cent respectively for type II, and 51 and 29 per cent for type III.

Conclusion: The localization and biological features of LM from NET defines therapeutic management and is predictive of outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheter Ablation / methods
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Female
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Liver Transplantation / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / secondary*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / therapy*
  • Peptides, Cyclic / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use


  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • yttrium 90-DOTA-lanreotide