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Neuroendocrine Tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors are extremely rare, and they include carcinoid tumors of the intestine and neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. A unique feature of neuroendocrine tumors is that they may produce hormones that affect the entire body. Therefore, treatment of neuroendocrine tumors is driven by the needs both to eradicate the cancer itself when possible and to alleviate symptoms related to hormone production by certain tumors.

Diagnosis

Some neuroendocrine tumors may be detected because of symptoms caused by hormones released from cancer cells, but other tumors are asymptomatic (do not cause symptoms) and are found incidentally on CT scans done for other reasons. Although most neuroendocrine tumors occur in patients with no risk factors, a small percentage of these tumors are associated with well-known familial syndromes, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN I and MENII) and neurofibromatosis.

Treatment

When localized to the primary site, such as the pancreas or small intestine, surgical removal is often the treatment of choice. If the tumor has spread to other organs, such as the liver, we offer a range of several treatment options, including medications that slow the cancer cell growth, standard chemotherapy, and minimally invasive techniques that destroy tumors in the liver. Neuroendocrine tumors are typically slow-growing, and even when the tumor has spread via the bloodstream to the liver, patients can live for many years when under the care of an experienced team.