Epidemiological study of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in Japan

J Gastroenterol. 2010 Feb;45(2):234-43. doi: 10.1007/s00535-009-0194-8.


Background: There have been few epidemiological studies on gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) in Japan.

Methods: We examined the epidemiology of GEP-NETs [pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs) and gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors (GI-NETs)] in Japan in 2005 using a nationwide stratified random sampling method.

Results: A total of 2,845 individuals received treatment for PETs. Prevalence was estimated as 2.23/100,000 with an annual onset incidence of 1.01/100,000. Non-functioning tumor (NF)-PET constituted 47.4%, followed by insulinoma (38.2%) and gastrinoma (7.9%). Distant metastases were reported in 21% patients with NF-PETs and occurred more frequently as tumor size increased (>2 cm). Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1) was detected in 10% of PETs but only in 6.1% of NF-PETs. NF-PETs were detected incidentally by physical examination in 24% patients. In 2005, an estimated 4,406 patients received treatment for GI-NETs. Prevalence was estimated as 3.45/100,000, with an annual onset incidence of 2.10/100,000. The locations of GI-NETs varied: foregut, 30.4%; midgut, 9.6%; and hindgut, 60.0%. Distant metastases were observed in 6%. Lymph node metastases occurred more frequently as tumor size increased (>1 cm). The frequency of MEN-1 complications was 1%. Physical examination revealed GI-NETs in 44% patients. The frequency of symptomatic GI-NETs was 3.4%. Interestingly, 77.1% of patients with foregut GI-NETs had type A gastritis.

Conclusion: Our results show there are large differences in GEP-NETs between Japan and Western nations, primarily due to differences in the presence of MEN-1 in NF-PETs and the location, symptomatic status, and prevalence of malignancy in GI-NETs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / epidemiology*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult