Over 50% of patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) have stage IV disease at presentation and the most likely organ to be affected by metastases is the liver. Hepatic involvement and hepatic tumor burden is a key prognostic factor affecting survival of these patients and 80% eventually die of liver failure due to tumor dissemination within the liver. This commentary explores the efficacy and limitations of systemic treatments in patients with GEP-NETs and liver metastases. Landmark randomized trials using systemic therapies including sandostatin (PROMID), lanreotide (CLARINET), everolimus (RADIANT 3 and 4), sunitinib and Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (NETTER-1) have not shown efficacy in reducing liver tumor burden in patients with stage IV GEP-NETs with liver metastases as outlined in this review. Although often overlooked, surgical debulking has been associated with a significant survival advantage in large retrospective studies and in our opinion should remain an important therapeutic option for patients with stage IV GEP-NETs and liver metastases.
Keywords: Liver metastases; Liver resection; Neuroendocrine tumor; Systemic therapy.
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