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International Journal of Hepatology
Volume 2012, Article ID 471203, 8 pages
Review Article

Hepatic Arterial Embolization for the Treatment of Metastatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Surgical Oncology, Bellevue Hospital Center, 550 First Avenue, NBV 15 South 11, New York, NY 10016, USA

Received 30 July 2011; Accepted 9 October 2011

Academic Editor: Dermot O'Toole

Copyright © 2012 Eric Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) have a high predilection for metastasizing to the liver and can cause severe debilitating symptoms adversely affecting quality of life. Although surgery remains the treatment of choice, many liver metastases are inoperable at presentation. Hepatic arterial embolization procedures take advantage of the arterial supply of NET metastases. The goals of these therapies are twofold: to increase overall survival by stabilizing tumor growth, and to reduce the morbidity in symptomatic patients. Patients treated with hepatic arterial embolization demonstrate longer progression-free survival and have 5-year survival rates of nearly 30%. The safety of repeat embolizations has also been proven in the setting of recurrent symptoms or progression of the disease. Despite not being curative, hepatic arterial embolization should be used in the management of NETs with liver metastases. Long-term survival is not uncommon, making aggressive palliation of symptoms an important component of treatment.