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Volume 83 - 2020 - Fasc.4 - Expert Point of View

Current practice in approaching controversial diagnostic and therapeutic topics in gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasm management. Belgian multidisciplinary expert discussion based on a modified Delphi method

Background and study aims : Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are relatively rare, with marked clinical and biological heterogeneity. Consequently, many controversial areas remain in diagnosis and optimal treatment stratification for NEN patients. We wanted to describe current clinical practice regarding controversial NEN topics and stimulate critical thinking and mutual learning among a Belgian multidisciplinary expert panel Patients and methods : A 3-round, Delphi method based project, coordinated by a steering committee (SC), was applied to a predefined multidisciplinary NEN expert panel studying the following controversial topics : factors guiding therapeutic decision making, the use of somatostatin analogues (SSA) in adjuvant setting, the interference between non-radioactive and radioactive SSAs, challenging small intestine neuroendocrine tumor (NET) cases, the approach of the carcinoid syndrome, the role of chemotherapy in well differentiated NET, the relevance of NET G3 and neuroendocrine carcinoma subclassification and the role of imaging techniques in NEN management. Results : A high level of consensus exists regarding the necessary diagnostic work-up, use of imaging techniques and interference between non-radioactive and radioactive SSAs. However, the prognostic impact of tumor functionality might be overrated and adequate diarrhea differential diagnostic work-up in these patients is underused. Significant differences are seen between individual experts and centers regarding treatment preferences both on the treatment modality level, as well as the choice of specific drugs (e.g. chemotherapy regimen). Conclusions : A Delphi-like multi-round expert discussion proves useful to boost critical thinking and discussion among experts of different background, as well as to describe cur- rent clinical practice and stimulate mutual learning in the absence of high-level scientific guidance. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2020, 83, 643-653).