Evaluation of circulating transcript analysis (NETest) in small intestinal neuroendocrine neoplasms after surgical resection

Endocrine. 2020 Aug;69(2):430-440. doi: 10.1007/s12020-020-02289-2. Epub 2020 Apr 14.


Purpose: Surgical resection is the only effective curative strategy for small intestinal neuroendocrine neoplasms (SINENs). Nevertheless, the evaluation of residual disease and prediction of disease recurrence/progression remains a problematic issue.

Methods: We evaluated 13 SINENs that underwent surgical resection of the primary tumour and/or mesenteric mass. Patients were divided in three groups: (a) Group 1: SINENs that underwent resection with curative intent, (b) Group 2: SINENs treated with resection in the setting of metastatic disease, which remained stable and (c) Group 3: SINENs treated with resection in the setting of metastatic disease, with evidence of any progression at follow-up. NETest and chromogranin A were measured pre-operatively and post-operatively during a 22-month median follow-up period and compared with imaging studies. NETest score <20% was determined as normal, 20-40% low, 41-79% intermediate and ≥80% high score.

Results: NETest score was raised in all (100%) SINENs pre-operatively. Surgery with curative intent resulted in NETest score reduction from 78.25 ± 15.32 to 25.25 ± 1.75 (p < 0.05). Low NETest scores post-operatively were evident in all cases without clinical evidence of residual disease (Group 1). However, the low disease activity score suggested the presence of microscopic residual disease. In three cases (75%) with stable disease (Group 2) the NETest score was low consistent with indolent disease. In the progressive disease group (Group 3), a high NETest score was present in three cases (60%) and an intermediate NETest score in the remainder (40%).

Conclusions: Blood NETest scores accurately identified SINENs and were significantly decreased by curative surgery. Monitoring NETest post-operatively may facilitate management by identifying the presence of residual/progressive disease.

Keywords: NETest; Neuroendocrine tumour; Small bowel; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Chromogranin A
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Chromogranin A