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Localisation of neuroendocrine tumours of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
  1. T Zimmer,
  2. K Ziegler,
  3. M Bäder,
  4. U Fett,
  5. B Hamm,
  6. E O Riecken,
  7. B Wiedenmann
  1. Department of Internal Medicine, Steglitz Medical Centre, Free University of Berlin, Germany.


    In order to localise neuroendocrine tumours of the foregut type (that is, of the stomach, duodenum, and pancreas), 18 patients were studied prospectively by endoscopic ultrasonography, computed tomography, transabdominal ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy. These 18 patients had a total of 25 primary tumour lesions which were verified histologically in tissue obtained by surgery or by ultrasound or endoscopy guided biopsy. Tumours were found in the stomach (n = 1), duodenum (n = 6), pancreas (n = 17), and liver (n = 1). Endoscopic ultrasonography had the highest sensitivity for tumour detection, followed by somatostatin receptor scintigraphy, computed tomography, transabdominal ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance imaging (88%, 52%, 36%, 32%, and 24% respectively). Endoscopic ultrasonography was especially sensitive in tumours smaller than 2 cm in diameter (88% v somatostatin receptor scintigraphy 35%; computed tomography 12%; transabdominal ultrasonography 6%; and magnetic resonance imaging 0%). Of 17 tumours located in the pancreas, endoscopic ultrasonography showed a sensitivity of 94% (somatostatin receptor scintigraphy 47%; computed tomography 47%; transabdominal ultrasonography 41%; and magnetic resonance imaging 29%). Of eight extrapancreatic tumours, six were identified by endoscopic ultrasonography, five by somatostatin receptor scintigraphy, and only one by computed tomography, transabdominal ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance imaging. One neuroendocrine tumour that was not detected by endoscopic ultrasonography was correctly identified by somatostatin receptor scintigraphy. Endoscopic ultrasound allowed correct determination of the tumour size and tumour spread into parapancreatic structures, especially the large vessels (T stage), in all 14 patients operated upon. The lymph node stage (N stage) was correctly determined in 10 of these 14 patients. In summary, endoscopic ultrasonography and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy were the most sensitive imaging methods for the localisation of these tumours and should be used as early diagnostic procedures to accurately stage neuroendocrine tumours of the foregut type.

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