The role of surgery and transplantation in neuroendocrine tumours

Acta Gastroenterol Belg. Jan-Mar 2009;72(1):39-43.


Surgery represents the only chance of cure for a patient with a neuroendocrine tumour (NET). The main indications for surgery lie in the risk of developing metastatic disease with increasing tumour diameter and for a functioning NET also in control of the hormonal syndrome. However, only a small minority of patients presents with a potentially resectable primary NET without metastatic disease. An R0-resection is mandatory, which may be achieved in selected cases by tissue sparing surgical techniques. Most patients unfortunately present with a locally advanced or metastatic disease. For patients with an advanced functioning NET, control of the hormonal syndrome may also represent a surgical indication. Various cytoreductive techniques or, in highly selected cases, liver transplantation can be applied. For locally advanced non-functioning tumours, there is an indication for surgery in large tumours which tend to create local complications because of bleeding or bowel obstruction. Especially in ileal NETs aggressive surgical therapy is recommended because of prevention of long-term complications, which may improve survival.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / secondary
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / surgery*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*