Carcinoid Syndrome
(Carcinoid Tumor)

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Carcinoid tumor facts

  • Carcinoid tumors are rare tumors that develop from hormone-producing cells called enterochromaffin cells that occur throughout the body with approximately 65% originating in the gastrointestinal tract and 25% in the lungs.
  • Carcinoid tumors can occur almost anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract but primarily in the stomach, small intestine, appendix, colon, and rectum.
  • Carcinoid tumors can be benign or malignant. Even when they are malignant, carcinoid tumors are usually slow-growing.
  • The carcinoid syndrome is a syndrome that is caused by the release of hormones and other chemical substances called vasoactive amines from carcinoid.
  • The carcinoid syndrome may include manifestations such as abdominal pain, wheezing, facial flushing, diarrhea, heart disease, and "carcinoid crisis."
  • Carcinoid tumors can be found by endoscopy, barium small intestinal x-ray studies, and by capsule enteroscopy. Their diagnosis requires a biopsy to provide a tissue sample.
  • Metastatic carcinoid tumors can be diagnosed by CT or MRI scans, indium 111 octreotide scans, and bone scans.
  • Carcinoid tumors can be managed with observation, surgery, cryotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, hepatic artery embolization, interferon therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
  • The carcinoid syndrome's manifestations can be blocked or lessened by medication.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/27/2015

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