Surgical treatment for gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors

Ann Gastroenterol Surg. 2020 Sep 12;4(6):652-659. doi: 10.1002/ags3.12396. eCollection 2020 Nov.


Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are rare neoplasms, with an estimated annual incidence of 6.9/100 000. They arise from cells of the diffuse endocrine system, which are mainly dispersed throughout the gastrointestinal (GI), pancreatic, and respiratory tracts. The incidence of GI-NETs has recently begun to show a steady increase. According to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, 53% of patients with NETs present with localized disease, 20% with locoregional disease, and 27% with distant metastases at the time of diagnosis. Surgery is the mainstay for the treatment of locoregional GI-NETs. Endoscopic resection is an option for well-differentiated early GI-NETs, which are thought to very rarely metastasize to lymph nodes. A lesion that is technically difficult to resect via endoscopy is an indication for local resection (partial resection without lymph node dissection). GI-NETs with possible lymph node metastasis is an indication for enterectomy with lymph node dissection. For NETs with metastatic lesions, cytoreduction surgery can control hormonal hypersecretion and alleviate symptoms; therefore, cytoreduction surgery is recommended. The indications for surgery vary and are based on the organ where the NET arose; therefore, an understanding of the patient's clinical state and individualized treatment that is based on the characteristics of the patient's GI-NET is needed. This review summarizes surgical treatments of GI-NETs in each organ.

Keywords: cytoreductive surgery; endoscopic resection; enterectomy with lymph node dissection; gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors.

Publication types

  • Review