Cytoreductive surgery in patients with advanced-stage carcinoid tumors

Seza A. Gulec, Timothy S. Mountcastle, Daniel Frey, Jason D. Cundiff, Elizabeth Mathews, Lowell Anthony, J. Patrick O'Leary, J. Philip Boudreaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The role of aggressive surgical resections as well as criteria for resectability in patients with advanced carcinoid tumors is not clearly defined. Thirty patients (17 male and 13 female) who were previously diagnosed to have "unresectable carcinoid disease" were treated using a multimodality approach over a period of 2 years. Extensive liver involvement was present in 28 of 30 (93%) of the cases. Small bowel involvement was noted in 22 of 30 (73%), and peritoneal/retroperitoneal/mesenteric invasion was observed in 15 of 30 (50%) of the cases. Three patients had remote metastases (brain, bone, and eye). Twenty of 30 (66%) patients had carcinoid syndrome with severely disabling symptoms. Eight patients (26%) had small bowel obstruction. All patients underwent at least one surgical exploration/intervention. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of one or more liver lesions was performed as an adjunct in 22 of 30 (73%) patients. Six patients (20%) had a second surgical procedure. There were 11 complications in eight patients (27%) after the initial operation. Median hospital stay for patients who underwent RFA only, RFA/liver resection, and liver resection with abdominal tumor debulking were 2, 4, 8, and 16 days respectively. Twenty-five of 30 patients (83%) showed symptomatic improvement. Mean pre- and post-operative Karnofsky physical performance scores were 55 and 85 respectively (P < 0.02). Small bowel obstruction was due to adhesions in five patients. All patients with intestinal obstruction had complete relief of their symptoms postoperatively. 5-Hydroxyindolacetic acid levels decreased by 50 per cent in all patients with follow-up determinations available. Aggressive surgical exploration and tumor debulking could be performed with significantly improved symptomatic outcome and relatively minor complications. Longer follow-up is needed for assessment of effect on survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-671
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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