Outcome of liver resection for small bowel neuroendocrine tumour metastases

Murray David Polkinghorne, Jake EJ Krige, Eduard Jonas, Urda K Kotze, Marc M Bernon


Background: Small bowel neuroendocrine tumours frequently metastasise to the liver. While liver resection improves survival and provides symptomatic relief, multifocal bilobar disease adds complexity to surgical management.

Objectives: This study evaluated outcome in patients with small bowel neuroendocrine liver metastases who underwent liver resection at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT Private Academic Hospital.

Methods: All patients with small bowel neuroendocrine liver metastases treated with resection from 1990–2015 were identified from a prospective departmental database. Demographic data, operative management, morbidity and mortality using the Accordion classification were analysed. Survival was assessed using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: Seventeen patients (9 women, 8 men, median age 55 years, range 31–76) underwent resection. Each patient had all identifiable liver metastases resected and/or ablated (median n = 3, range 1–20). Ten patients had major anatomical liver resections. Three patients had five segments resected, and seven had four resected. Nine patients (53%) had a concurrent bowel resection of the small bowel NET primary and a regional mesenteric lymphadenectomy. Median operating time was 255 min (range 150–720). Median blood-loss was 800 ml (range 200–10,000). Five patients required intraoperative blood transfusion. Hepatic vascular inflow control was used in ten patients (56.5 min median, range 20–150 min), which included hepatic inflow control n = 8, total hepatic exclusion n = 1, and selective hepatic exclusion n = 1. Median postoperative hospital stay was 9 days (range 2–28). Thirteen complications occurred in seven patients. Accordion grades were 1 n = 3, 2 n = 4, 3 n = 3, 4 n = 2, 6 n = 1. One patient required reoperation for bleeding and a bile leak. One patient died of a myocardial infarction 36 hours postoperatively. Sixteen patients (94%) had symptomatic improvement. Five-year overall survival was 91% (median follow-up 36 months, range 14–86 months).

Conclusion: Our data show that liver resection can be safely performed for small bowel NET metastases with a good 5-year survival. However, a substantial number of patients require a major liver resection and these patients are best managed at a multidisciplinary referral centre.


Surgery; small bowel NET; liver tumours; metastases

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South African Journal of Surgery | Online ISSN: 2078-5151 | Print ISSN: 0038-2361 | Medpharm Publications

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