Laparoscopic surgical exploration is an effective strategy for locating occult primary neuroendocrine tumors

Kristen P. Massimino, Esther Han, Su Ellen J. Pommier, Rodney F. Pommier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Many patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) have metastases at diagnosis. Despite extensive metastases the primary tumors remain small and difficult to locate. METHODS: Records of patients diagnosed with metastatic abdominal NETs from 2006 to 2010 were reviewed retrospectively. Results of preoperative imaging, procedures, and surgical explorations were compared for their efficacy at finding primary tumors. RESULTS: Sixty-three patients were identified. Seventeen percent (11 of 63) of tumors were located by preoperative testing. The sensitivities of preoperative colonoscopy (23% [n = 26]), computed tomography scan (6.7% [n = 60]), and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (2.0% [n = 52]) were low. No tumors were found by magnetic resonance imaging (n = 9), upper endoscopy (n = 24), capsule endoscopy (n = 2), or bronchoscopy (n = 4). Surgical exploration was the most sensitive (79% [n = 63]) method of tumor detection. Seventy-two percent of surgical localizations were laparoscopic. CONCLUSIONS: Surgical exploration was superior to all other modalities for locating primary NETs. Laparoscopy had a high probability of finding occult primary neuroendocrine tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-631
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Carcinoid
  • Laparoscopy
  • Neuroendocrine tumor
  • Occult primary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Laparoscopic surgical exploration is an effective strategy for locating occult primary neuroendocrine tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this