Liver transplantation in the treatment of unresectable hepatic metastasis from neuroendocrine tumors

Joohyun Kim, Michael A. Zimmerman, Johnny C. Hong


Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) are rare neoplasms with generally indolent growth behavior. The liver is the most common site of NET metastasis. The NET metastatic spread to the liver are usually multiple tumors involving bilateral hemilivers. For patients with isolated NET metastasis to the liver, a complete extirpation (R0) resection of both the primary NET and liver metastasis provide the best chance of tumor recurrence-free patient survival. Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) presents a viable treatment option for patients with unresectable liver metastasis from NET. Post-OLT outcomes for the patients of NET with liver metastasis (5-year overall survival rate 47–71%) are comparable to those for other indications. However, the high rate of recurrence after OLT (31–57%) remains a clinical obstacle. As such, it is imperative to consider each patient individually and identify prognostic factors that would impact post- OLT outcomes. This article focuses on the role of OLT in the definitive treatment of metastatic liver NET, review patient selection criteria predictive of survival outcomes and post-OLT outcomes for patients.

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