With advances in diagnostic endoscopy, the detection of rectal neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) has increased. However, clinical outcomes, especially after endoscopic treatment, are still unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the long-term clinical outcomes of endoscopically resected rectal NETs according to the pathologic status after initial resection.
In this large, multicenter, retrospective cohort study, we analyzed the medical records of patients who underwent endoscopic resection of rectal NETs and were followed for ≥24 months at 16 university hospitals. The outcomes of interest were local or distant recurrence and metachronous lesions.
On the pathologic assessment of 407 patients, the resection margin status was positive in 76 (18.7%) and indeterminate in 72 (17.7%) patients. Patients whose rectal NETs were diagnosed or suspected as NETs before resection showed a much higher complete resection rate than those whose tumors were resected as polyps and then diagnosed (P<0.001). Fourteen patients received salvage treatment at 1.9±2.8 months after initial treatment. During a median follow-up period of 45.0 months, local recurrence occurred in 3 (0.74%) patients, but there was no recurrence in the lymph nodes or distant organs. Metachronous rectal NETs were diagnosed in 3 (0.74%) patients. According to the pathologic status after initial resection, local recurrence and metachronous lesions occurred in 1 (0.4%) and 2 (0.8%) patients, respectively, in the pathologic tumor-free group, whereas they occurred in 2 (1.4%) and 1 (0.7%) patients, respectively, in the indeterminate group.
Considering the long-term prognosis including that for recurrences or metachronous lesions, endoscopic resection is an efficient and a safe modality for the treatment of rectal NETs. This treatment may result in favorable clinical outcomes in patients with tumors of indeterminate pathology, as well as in pathologic tumor-free cases after initial resection.