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Chromogranin A, a Marker of the Therapeutic Success of Resection of Neuroendocrine Liver Metastases: Preliminary Report

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Abstract

Recent publications indicate that life may be prolonged by surgical debulking of neuroendocrine tumors. A minimum 90% reduction of liver metastases has been suggested to alleviate symptoms of the carcinoid. We have used the tumor marker chromogranin A (CgA) to assess hepatic resection in patients with neuroendocrine metastatic tumor disease. Since 1998, seven patients (3 men) of median age 73 years (range 64–84 years) with carcinoid primary tumors in the ileum who had solitary (n = 2) or multiple (n = 5) liver metastases underwent hepatic resections. Two patients had synchronous small intestinal and liver resections; the rest had deferred hepatic resections after intestinal resection. Hormonal manifestations in the form of loose stools or diarrhea or flushing were observed in five patients, and five had abdominal symptoms from partial obstruction of the small bowel. The resection was deemed radical in five patients. Two patients with non-radical resection needed postoperative octreotide treatment, and symptoms were alleviated or improved in the others. All seven patients are alive with an observation period from 6 to 64 months (median 36 months). Median CgA (normal < 30 ng/ml) was 292 ng/ml (range 79-14,000 ng/ml) before liver surgery. Postoperatively, CgA became normal in three of the radically resected patients, whereas in two others, it decreased to a lowest median level of 79 ng/ml (range 52–105 ng/ml). In two palliatively resected patients, one had a near normalization to 65 ng/ml, and the last patient had a reduction from 14,000 to 2400 ng/ml following debulking surgery. A similar postoperative reduction was noted for 24 hr urinary 5-HIAA excretion. Postoperative octreotide scintigraphy suggested residual hepatic or extrahepatic tumors in three of the patients thought radically resected, whereas two had no clear sign of disease corresponding to a normal CgA value. The CgA values, however, reflected the extent of positive scintigraphy findings. Serum CgA levels monitored the extent and short-term course of the disease and corresponded well with scintigraphy findings and 5-HIAA excretion, but prolonged follow-up in more patients may be necessary before decisive conclusions are allowed to be drawn.

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Correspondence to Karl Søndenaa M.D., Ph.D..

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Søndenaa, K., Sen, J., Heinle, F. et al. Chromogranin A, a Marker of the Therapeutic Success of Resection of Neuroendocrine Liver Metastases: Preliminary Report. World J. Surg. 28, 890–895 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00268-004-7384-6

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