Limited value for urinary 5-HIAA excretion as prognostic marker in gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumours

Wouter T Zandee, Kimberly Kamp, Roxanne C S van Adrichem, Richard A Feelders, Wouter W de Herder

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OBJECTIVE: To determine if urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) excretion is of prognostic value for overall survival (OS) in patients with a gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumour (NET) and to compare the prognostic value with patient characteristics, ENETS/WHO grading, ENETS TNM staging and biomarkers.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Data was collected from patients with a gastrointestinal NET or a NET with gastrointestinal metastases and available 5-HIAA excretion in 24-h urine samples. Laboratory results were stratified for urinary 5-HIAA and chromogranin A (CgA): <2× upper limit of normal (ULN), 2-10× ULN, or >10× ULN. For neuron-specific enolase (NSE), this was the reference range or >1× ULN. OS was compared using Kaplan-Meier and log-rank tests, and hazard ratios were calculated using Cox regression for univariate and multivariate analyses.

RESULTS: A total of 371 patients were included, 46.6% female with a mean age of 59.9 years. OS was shortest in patients with urinary 5-HIAA excretion >10× ULN vs reference range (median 83 months vs 141 months, P = 0.002). In univariate analysis, urinary 5-HIAA excretion >10× ULN was a negative predictor (HR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.09-2.39). However, in multivariate analysis, only age (HR 1.04, 95% CI: 1.01-1.08), grade 3 disease (HR 5.09, 95% CI: 2.20-11.79), NSE >1× ULN (HR 2.36, 95% CI: 1.34-4.14) and CgA >10× ULN (HR 3.61, 95% CI: 1.56-8.34) remained as the predictors.

CONCLUSION: Urinary 5-HIAA excretion >10× ULN is a negative predictor for OS. However, when added to other biomarkers and grading, it is no longer a predictor for OS. Therefore, it should only be determined to assess carcinoid syndrome and not for prognostic value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-6
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor/urine
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid/urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors/diagnosis
  • Prognosis

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