Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1) and neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs)

Semin Cancer Biol. 2022 Feb:79:141-162. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2021.04.011. Epub 2021 Apr 24.


Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are relatively rare neoplasms with 6.4-times increasing age-adjusted annual incidence during the last four decades. NENs arise from neuroendocrine cells, which release hormones in response to neuronal stimuli and they are distributed into organs and tissues. The presentation and biological behaviour of the NENs are highly heterogeneous, depending on the organ. The increased incidence is mainly due to increased awareness and improved detection methods both in the majority of sporadic NENs (non-inherited), but also the inherited groups of neoplasms appearing in at least ten genetic syndromes. The most important one is multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1), caused by mutations in the tumour suppressor gene MEN1. MEN-1 has been associated with different tumour manifestations of NENs e.g. pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, thymus and pituitary. Pancreatic NENs tend to be less aggressive when arising in the setting of MEN-1 compared to sporadic pancreatic NENs. There have been very important improvements over the past years in both genotyping, genetic counselling and family screening, introduction and validation of various relevant biomarkers, as well as newer imaging modalities. Alongside this development, both medical, surgical and radionuclide treatments have also advanced and improved morbidity, quality of life and mortality in many of these patients. Despite this progress, there is still space for improving insight into the genetic and epigenetic factors in relation to the biological mechanisms determining NENs as part of MEN-1. This review gives a comprehensive update of current evidence for co-occurrence, diagnosis and treatment of MEN-1 and neuroendocrine neoplasms and highlight the important progress now finding its way to international guidelines in order to improve the global management of these patients.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Imaging; Multiple endocrine neoplasia; Neuroendocrine tumours; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Radioisotope
  • Gastrinoma / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 / genetics*
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 / therapy*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / diagnosis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / genetics*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MEN1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins