Although several neuroendocrine cell types constitute gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), the clinical and prognostic implications of the expression of multiple peptide hormones have not been comprehensively evaluated in rectal NETs.


To identify the clinicopathologic characteristics and prognostic impact of peptide hormone expression.


We evaluated the expression of peptide YY (PYY), glucagon, somatostatin, serotonin, insulin, and gastrin using immunolabeling in 446 endoscopically or surgically resected rectal NETs.


PYY, glucagon, serotonin, somatostatin, insulin, and gastrin were expressed in 261 of 389 (67.1%), 205 of 446 (46.0%), 36 of 446 (8.1%), 33 of 446 (7.4%), 2 of 446 (0.4%), and 1 of 446 cases (0.2%), respectively. Immunoreactivity to any peptide hormone was present in 345 of 446 cases (77.4%). Tumors expressing serotonin or somatostatin were associated with lymphovascular invasion, chromogranin A expression, and shorter disease-free survival (DFS). Rectal NETs were classified as L-cell, enterochromaffin-cell, D-cell, null-expression, or mixed-expression type based on peptide hormonal expression status. Patients with D-cell NET had the shortest DFS (10-year DFS, 54.5%), followed by those with enterochromaffin-cell NET (89.5%), null expression (97.0%), L-cell NET (99.6%), and mixed-expression NET (100%; P < .001). Multivariable analyses revealed that somatostatin expression was an independent indicator of poor prognosis with respect to DFS in rectal NETs (P = .001).


Somatostatin expression is a poor prognostic indicator in patients with rectal NETs. Therefore, additional peptide hormonal immunolabeling, including somatostatin, serotonin, and PYY, in rectal NETs can provide more information regarding DFS.

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Author notes

This work was supported by a grant (number FRD2021-15, to Kim) from the Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea.

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.

Presented in part at the 19th Annual European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (ENETS) Conference; March 10–11, 2022; Barcelona, Spain.