Epidemiological trends of pancreatic and gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors in Japan: a nationwide survey analysis

J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jan;50(1):58-64. doi: 10.1007/s00535-014-0934-2. Epub 2014 Feb 6.


Background: Although neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are rare, the number of patients with NET is increasing. However, in Japan, there have been no epidemiological studies on NET since 2005; thus, the prevalence of NET remains unknown.

Methods: We reported the epidemiology of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) [pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) and gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors (GI-NETs)] in Japan in 2005. Here, we conducted the second nationwide survey on patients with GEP-NETs who received treatment in 2010.

Results: A total of 3,379 patients received treatment for PNETs in 2010, representing a 1.2-fold increase in the number of patients from 2005 to 2010. The prevalence was estimated to be 2.69/100,000, with an annual onset incidence of 1.27/100,000 in 2010. Non-functioning tumor (NF)-PNETs comprised 65.5% of cases followed by insulinoma (20.9%) and gastrinoma (8.2%). Interestingly, the number of patients with NF-PNETs increased ~1.8 fold since 2005. A total of 19.9% of patients exhibited distant metastasis at initial diagnosis; 4.3% had complications with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1), and only 4.0% had NF-PNETs associated with MEN-1. Meanwhile, an estimated 8,088 patients received treatment for GI-NETs, representing a ~1.8-fold increase since 2005. The prevalence was estimated to be 6.42/100,000, with an annual onset incidence of 3.51/100,000. The locations of GI-NETs varied: foregut, 26.1%; midgut, 3.6%; and hindgut, 70.3%. Distant metastasis and complications with MEN-1 were observed in 6.0 and 0.42% at initial diagnosis, respectively. The frequency of carcinoid syndrome in patients with GI-NETs was 3.2%.

Conclusion: We clarified the epidemiological changes in GEP-NETs from 2005 to 2010 in Japan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Malignant Carcinoid Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / epidemiology*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / secondary
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prevalence