Background: Metastatic neuroendocrine malignancies frequently cause incapacitating endocrinopathies, and metastases predominant in the liver. Hepatic resection of metastases from such tumors is attractive because the natural history of neuroendocrine tumors is protracted, clinical severity of the endocrinopathy correlates with tumor volume, and local and intrahepatic growth characteristics often allow complete resection.
Patients and methods: To define the role of hepatic resection for metastatic neuroendocrine tumors, the records of 74 patients who underwent hepatic resection for such tumors between 1984 and 1992 were reviewed. Neuroendocrine tumors were classified by site of origin and clinical endocrinopathy. Survival, and type and duration of symptomatic response, were assessed as the major outcomes of this study.
Results: There were 50 carcinoid, 23 islet-cell, and 1 atypical neuroendocrine tumors. Resections included 36 hemihepatectomies or extended hepatectomies and 38 nonanatomic resections. Thirty-eight primary tumors were resected concomitantly. Perioperative mortality was 2.7% and morbidity was 24%. Four-year survival was 73%. Overall postoperative symptomatic response rate was 90% with a mean duration of response of 19.3 months.
Conclusions: Hepatic resection for metastatic neuroendocrine malignancies is safe, provides effective palliation, and probably prolongs survival.