Interventional treatment of neuroendocrine liver metastases

U Knigge, C P Hansen, F Stadil


Neuroendocrine gastroenteropancreatic tumours are rare with an incidence of 2-4/100.000 per year. More than 75% of the patients develop hepatic metastases, which reduce the five year survival from 70-80% to 30-40%. In addition to chemo- and biotherapy, interventional therapy of liver metastases should be considered in order to prolong survival and reduce endocrine and local symptoms. Surgical resection is the only curative treatment, but possible in less than 10% of the patients. Curative and palliative resection, which is possible in less than 20-25% of the patients, relieve endocrine and local symptoms in 90% of the patients for more than two years, and the five year survival is prolonged to 40-85%, although metastases recur or progress in almost all patients. Tumour ablation by radiofrequency therapy has a palliative effect on endocrine symptoms in 70-90% of the patients for up to two years, but should not be a substitute for surgical treatment. When metastases are not eligible for surgical treatment or ablation, embolization or chemoembolization are alternative options with a reduction in tumour burden in about 50% and a five year survival of around 60% ofthe patients. The symptomatic response rate is 90% with a mean duration of two years. Liver transplantation should be restricted to very few and highly selected patients without extrahepatic disease. Recurrence is inevitable in nearly all patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Irish Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)232-9
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


  • Catheter Ablation/methods
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic/methods
  • Hepatectomy/methods
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms/secondary
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors/secondary
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms/pathology
  • Stomach Neoplasms/pathology
  • Treatment Outcome


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