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Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Aug;19(4):637-48.

Endocrine tumours of the gastrointestinal tract. Transplantation in the management of metastatic endocrine tumours.

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Klinik für Allgemein-, Visceral- und Transplantationschirurgie, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charité, Campus Virchow Klinikum, Germany.


Patients with neuroendocrine tumours often present with synchronous liver metastases or develop hepatic metastases in the course of their disease. A complete removal of liver metastases with an intention to cure may be accomplished by liver resection or, if hepatic disease is disseminated or hormonal symptoms and pain cannot be controlled medically, by total hepatectomy and transplantation. The indications for orthotopic liver transplantation for metastatic neuroendocrine tumour disease should be anchored in a multimodal and multidisciplinary therapeutic approach. Approximately, 120-130 cases of orthotopic liver transplantation for neuroendocrine tumours have been published so far, but follow-up after transplantation has been limited, and most reports comprise a small number of patients. After considering published studies and data, some recommendations may be given, although these are based on a low level of evidence. After excluding extrahepatic tumour manifestations by imaging procedures and diagnostic laparoscopy, the indication should be chosen restrictively. Few prognostic markers, for example age below 50 years and absence of concurrent extensive surgery, were identified by multivariate analysis in a large retrospective analysis. The prognostic impact of primary tumour localisation is still controversial. However, further indicators of favourable long-term prognosis are needed. Tumour biology characterised by Ki67 and E-cadherin expression may help to identify patients with a favourable outcome so that patient selection can be improved, but this needs further evaluation in larger patient cohorts. Orthotopic liver transplantation for patients with remission of disease or stable disease under medical treatment, and orthotopic liver transplantation for palliative reasons, should be restricted to selected individual cases.

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