Exploring the current status of neuroendocrine tumours: A population-based analysis of epidemiology, management and use of resources

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Abstract

Background: Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are rare malignancies characterised by its capacity to synthesise and secrete monoamines, due to its neuroendocrine origin. Its varied locations and symptoms have traditionally been responsible for extended delays in their diagnosis. The interest of this study was to characterise the patient population diagnosed with NETs in Spain and to revise how the disease is managed, together with the hospitalisation costs of these patients. Methods: The database included records of all patients diagnosed with a NET between 2010 and 2015. Admission records were used to evaluate hospitalisation, disease management data and costs, and single-patient files were used to characterise the population. Results: Nine Thousand One Hundred Twenty patients were diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour between 2010 and 2015, with a 2 fold increase in the diagnosis rate over the study period. 42.25% of the patients were females, while 57.75% were males, and mean diagnosis age was 62.58 years (SD = 14.65). Considering all the registered neuroendocrine neoplasms, 46.86% of the patients had malignant well-differentiated NETs, 32.02% had a malignant poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma and 42.93% of patients developed metastatic NETs. In addition, 18.59% of patients were diagnosed with benign well-differentiated NETs. The most common tumour sites were the bronchus, lung and other sites, including pancreatic tumours; metastasis was found in the liver and distant lymph nodes. Pancreatic resection was the most common surgical procedure utilised in these patients, summing 19% of total expenses, the injection of an unspecified therapeutic substance (including targeted therapies) was registered in 11.40% of admissions, while chemotherapy was registered in only 6.85% of admissions. The annual healthcare cost of NETs was €15,373,961, corresponding to €9092 per patient. Conclusions: The implementation of standard diagnosis procedures should be prioritised, with a focus on the pancreas and lung, and taking into account that 42.93% of the patients develop a metastatic tumour. The presence of comorbidities and multimorbidities should be considered in order to develop more efficient disease management protocols.

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Darbà, J., & Marsà, A. (2019). Exploring the current status of neuroendocrine tumours: A population-based analysis of epidemiology, management and use of resources. BMC Cancer, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-6412-8

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