The lack of uniform criteria for coding of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasia (GEP-NEN) has hampered previous epidemiological studies. The epidemiology of GEP-NEN was investigated in this study using currently available criteria.
All patients diagnosed with GEP-NEN between January 2003 and December 2013 in a well defined Norwegian population of approximately 350 000 people were included. Age- and sex-adjusted incidence rates were calculated. The current 2010 World Health Organization criteria, European Neuroendocrine Tumour Society classification and International Union Against Cancer (UICC) classification were used.
A total of 204 patients (114 male, 55.9 per cent) were identified. The median age at diagnosis was 61 (range 10-94) years. The annual overall crude incidence was 5.83 per 100,000 inhabitants, with an increasing trend (P = 0.033). The most frequent location was small intestine (60 patients, 29.4 per cent) followed by appendix (48 patients, 23.5 per cent) and pancreas (33 patients, 16.2 per cent). Grade 1 tumours were more common in gastrointestinal (100 patients, 58.5 per cent) than in pancreatic (9 patients, 27 per cent) NEN. According to the UICC classification, 77 patients (37.7 per cent) had stage I, 17 patients (8.3 per cent) stage II, 37 patients (18.1 per cent) stage III and 70 patients (34.3 per cent) had stage IV disease. No patient with stage I disease had grade 3 tumours; advanced tumour grade increased with stage.
A high crude incidence of GEP-NEN, at 5.83 per 100,000 inhabitants, was noted together with a significant increasing trend over time.
Epidemiological studies show an increasing trend in the incidence of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs). A significant number of NENs occur in less common primary sites, but they are often excluded from the population-based studies. We studied the incidence trends of all NENs in Norway according to different primary sites.
Our analyses were based on cancer cases diagnosed between 1993 and 2010 and reported to the national population-based Cancer Registry of Norway. A total of 65 morphological codes were identified as neuroendocrine and stratified into 3 different groups of aggressiveness: low, intermediate and high.
We identified 16,075 NENs of which 49.5% were in women. The median age at diagnosis was 65 years. The most common primary sites were the lung (48.1%) and the gastroenteropancreatic system (18.0%). Stage at diagnosis was local in 40.4% of the cases, regional in 17.5% and distant in 42.1%. The stage distribution was stable throughout the study period. The age-standardized (European) incidence rate (per 100,000 person-years) increased from 13.3 in 1993 to 21.3 in 2010 with an estimated annual increase of 5.1% in women and 2.1% in men. The increase was most pronounced for tumors of intermediate aggressiveness from 3.3 in 1993 to 7.3 in 2010. The largest annual increases were estimated for the adrenal gland (8.8%), the pancreas (6.9%) and the lungs (6.1%).
The incidence of NENs increased. Most primary tumors were found in the lungs or in the gastroenteropancreatic system. The increase in the incidence differed according to the primary site, gender and tumor aggressiveness.