Trends in the Incidence, Prevalence, and Survival Outcomes in Patients With Neuroendocrine Tumors in the United States

JAMA Oncol. 2017 Oct 1;3(10):1335-1342. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.0589.


Importance: The incidence and prevalence of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are thought to be rising, but updated epidemiologic data are lacking.

Objective: To explore the evolving epidemiology and investigate the effect of therapeutic advances on survival of patients with NETs.

Design, setting, and participants: A retrospective, population-based study using nationally representative data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program was conducted to evaluate 64 971 patients with NETs from 1973 to 2012. Associated population data were used to determine annual age-adjusted incidence, limited-duration prevalence, and 5-year overall survival (OS) rates. Trends in survival from 2000 to 2012 were evaluated for the entire cohort as well as specific subgroups, including distant-stage gastrointestinal NETs and pancreatic NETs. Analyses were conducted between December 2015, and February 2017.

Main outcomes and measures: Neuroendocrine tumor incidence, prevalence, and OS rates.

Results: Of the 64 971 cases of NETs, 34 233 (52.7%) were women. The age-adjusted incidence rate increased 6.4-fold from 1973 (1.09 per 100 000) to 2012 (6.98 per 100 000). This increase occurred across all sites, stages, and grades. In the SEER 18 registry grouping (2000-2012), the highest incidence rates were 1.49 per 100 000 in the lung, 3.56 per 100 000 in gastroenteropancreatic sites, and 0.84 per 100 000 in NETs with an unknown primary site. The estimated 20-year limited-duration prevalence of NETs in the United States on January 1, 2014, was 171 321. On multivariable analyses, the median 5-year OS rate varied significantly by stage, grade, age at diagnosis, primary site, and time period of diagnosis. The OS rate for all NETs improved from the 2000-2004 period to the 2009-2012 period (hazard ratio [HR], 0.79; 95% CI, 0.73-0.85). Even larger increases in OS between these periods were noted in distant-stage gastrointestinal NETs (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.62-0.81) and distant-stage pancreatic NETs (HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.44-0.70).

Conclusions and relevance: The incidence and prevalence of NETs are steadily rising, possibly owing to detection of early-stage disease and stage migration. Survival for all NETs has improved over time, especially for distant-stage gastrointestinal NETs and pancreatic NETs in particular, reflecting improvement in therapies. These data will help to prioritize future research directions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / epidemiology*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SEER Program
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate
  • United States / epidemiology