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Hepatic Resection for Non-functional Neuroendocrine Liver Metastasis: Does the Presence of Unresected Primary Tumor or Extrahepatic Metastatic Disease Matter?

Jun-Xi Xiang MD, Xu-Feng Zhang MD, PhD, Eliza W. Beal MD, Matthew Weiss MD, Luca Aldrighetti MD, George A. Poultsides MD, Todd W. Bauer MD, Ryan C. Fields MD, Shishir Kumar Maithel MD, Hugo P. Marques MD, Timothy M. Pawlik MD, MPH, PhD, FACS, FRACS (Hon.)
Gastrointestinal Oncology
Volume 25, Issue 13 / December , 2018



The objective of this study was to assess the impact of unresected primary tumor, as well as extrahepatic metastasis, on the long-term prognosis of patients undergoing hepatic resection for non-functional neuroendocrine liver metastasis (NF-NELM).


Patients who underwent hepatic resection for NF-NELM were identified from a multi-institutional database. Data on clinical and pathological details, as well as the long-term overall survival (OS) were obtained and compared. Propensity score matching was performed to generate matched pairs of patients.


Among the 332 patients with NF-NELM, 281 (84.6%) underwent primary tumor resection, while 51 (15.4%) did not. Patients who underwent primary resection were more likely to have a pancreatic primary and metachronous NELM. The long-term OS of patients who did and did not have the primary neuroendocrine tumor (NET) resected was comparable on both unmatched (10-year survival rate 66.8% vs. 54.0%, p = 0.192) and matched (10-year survival rate 75.7% vs. 60.4%, p = 0.271) analyses. In contrast, patients with NF-NELM and extrahepatic metastasis had a worse OS following resection compared with patients who had intrahepatic-only metastasis on unmatched (10-year survival rate 37.5% vs. 69.3%, p = 0.002) and matched (10-year survival rate 37.5% vs. 86.3%, p = 0.011) analyses. On multivariable analysis, while resection of the primary NET was not associated with OS (hazard ratio [HR] 0.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.4–1.2, p = 0.195), the presence of extrahepatic metastasis was independently associated with long-term risk of death (HR 3.9, 95% CI 1.7–9.2, p = 0.002).


While surgery should be considered for patients with NF-NELM who have an unresectable primary tumor, operative resection of NF-NELM may not be as beneficial in patients with extrahepatic disease.

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