Background: Surgical approach is an accepted approach for metastatic neuroendocrine tumors (NET), but the safety and effectiveness of synchronous liver metastases resection with primary and/or locally recurrent NET is unclear.
Methods: From 1992 to 2009, a total of 36 patients underwent synchronous resection of primary NET or local recurrence and liver metastases. Patients and tumor characteristics, surgical procedures, and postoperative and long-term outcome were reviewed.
Results: Primary lesions were solitary in 28 patients (80 %), with a median size of 25 mm. Liver metastases were multiple in 32 cases (89 %), with a bilobar distribution in 29 patients (81 %) and a median size of 62 mm. Resections included gastroduodenal (n = 5), ileocolonic (n = 18), pancreatic resection (n = 13), and major hepatectomy (n = 15). Resections were R0, R1, and R2 in 13, 11, and 12 cases, respectively, and tumors were classified as G1 in 20 (56 %) and G2 in 15 (42 %). There was 1 postoperative death after a Whipple/right trisectionectomy, and postoperative complication occurred in 16 patients (44 %). With a median follow-up of 56 months, 31 patients (89 %) experienced recurrence, which was confined to the liver in 90 %. Reduction of disease to liver only allowed subsequent liver-directed therapy, such as arterial embolization or percutaneous ablation, in 25 patients (71 %). Five-year symptom-free survival and overall survival were 60 %, and 69 %, respectively.
Conclusions: In highly selected patients, an initial surgical approach combining simultaneous resection of liver metastases and primary/recurrent tumors can be performed with low mortality. Most patients develop liver-confined recurrence, which is usually amenable to ablative therapies that offer ongoing disease and symptom control.