Liver metastases imply a major problem in patients with carcinoid tumors. Patients with localized disease should always undergo resection for cure. Patients with distant metastatic disease can also undergo resection for potential cure or symptom palliation because of the slow growth rate of many carcinoid tumors. In patients with the midgut carcinoid syndrome and bilobar hepatic disease we have performed primary surgery to relieve such symptoms as intestinal obstruction and ischemia, followed by successive embolizations of the hepatic arteries to reduce functional tumor burden in the liver. For optimal palliation, all patients with residual tumor were treated by octreotide. In a consecutive series of 64 patients with the midgut carcinoid syndrome we thus attained a 5-year survival rate of 70%. Fourteen of the patients underwent intentionally curative surgery (e.g., primary surgery followed by liver surgery). Of these patients, none died from their tumor disease during the period of study. The value of adjunctive interferon therapy is currently under evaluation.
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