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World J Surg. 2002 Aug;26(8):998-1004. Epub 2002 May 21.

Indications and results of liver transplantation in patients with neuroendocrine tumors.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg University, Sweden.


Metastases from neuroendocrine (NE) tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, carcinoids, and endocrine pancreatic tumors (EPTs) can be confined to the liver for long periods and may exhibit slow growth. When considering liver transplantation (LTx) for patients with NE tumors, the expected results with conventional treatment must be weighed against the risk of LTx and immunosuppression. The following indications for LTx may be considered for patients with metastatic NE tumors limited to the liver: (1) tumors not accessible to curative surgery or major tumor reduction; (2) tumors not responding to medical or interventional treatment; and (3) tumors causing life-threatening hormonal symptoms. We excluded patients with poorly differentiated NE carcinoma or well differentiated NE carcinoma with a high proliferation index (Ki 67 > 10%). Over 4 years (1997-2001) we have performed transplants in nine patients (five with EPTs, four with carcinoids) with a mean +/- SEM follow-up of 22 +/- 5 months (range 4-45 months). Seven patients underwent orthotopic LTx and two multivisceral LTx. Eight patients are alive, six without clinical evidence of disease. Four patients developed recurrent tumors 9 to 36 months after LTx; two were detected at an early stage and underwent resection with curative intent. One patient with multivisceral Tx died after 4 months of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease without tumor recurrence. In selected series LTx can offer good control of hormonal symptoms, a relatively long disease-free interval, and in individual cases potential cure.

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