Epidemiology, Incidence, and Prevalence of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms: Are There Global Differences?

Curr Oncol Rep. 2021 Mar 14;23(4):43. doi: 10.1007/s11912-021-01029-7.


Purpose of review: The purpose of our review is to explore global epidemiologic trends of gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Specifically, we sought to examine whether there are differences in incidence, prevalence, distribution (by primary tumor site, tumor grade, tumor stage at presentation), and overall survival of GEP NETs between different regions of the world.

Recent findings: GEP NET incidence rates are rising steadily in North America, Asia, and Europe, though this rise appears to be most profound in North America. The distribution of GEP NETs differs regionally as in North America small intestinal and rectal NETs are most prevalent, in Asia rectal and pancreatic NETs are most prevalent, and in Europe small intestinal and pancreatic NETs are most prevalent. Overall survival for patients with GEP NETs appears to be improving with time. Some of the global increase in GEP NET incidence can be explained by increased health care utilization. This factor alone, however, does not explain the rise completely. Population-based studies utilizing uniform data collection instruments and a standard pathologic grading system are needed to identify other factors which may be contributing to this phenomenon.

Keywords: Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms; Global epidemiology; Incidence; Neuroendocrine carcinoma; Neuroendocrine tumors; Prevalence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / epidemiology*
  • North America
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Stomach Neoplasms / epidemiology*

Supplementary concepts

  • Gastro-enteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumor