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A carcinoid tumor is a type of neuroendocrine tumor that usually develops in the digestive (GI) tract (such as the stomach or intestines) or in the lungs. In some cases, a carcinoid tumor develops in another part of the body, such as the pancreas, testicle (in men), or ovary (in women). It is a slow-growing tumor that typically does not cause symptoms in the early stages, so a person may have the tumor for years before being diagnosed. In later stages, symptoms may vary depending on where the tumor is located. Symptoms of a GI carcinoid tumor may only develop if the tumor has spread to the liver. The tumor may produce hormone-like substances that spread to the body and cause symptoms of carcinoid syndrome, such as flushing of the face and chest, diarrhea, and trouble breathing. People with a lung carcinoid tumor are less likely to have carcinoid syndrome, but may experience coughing, wheezing, or pneumonia. The tumor may also cause various symptoms if it has spread to other parts of the body.
The cause of carcinoid tumors is unknown, but certain unavoidable risk factors may increase a person's chance of developing a carcinoid tumor. In general, cancer develops when a cell randomly develops mutations in its DNA. Surgery to remove the tumor is the main treatment and can typically cure the tumor if it has not spread to other parts of the body. Other treatment options may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
The cause of carcinoid tumors is currently unknown. There are some unavoidable risk factors that may increase a person's risk of developing the tumor. It is important to note that people with several risk factors may never develop cancer, while others with no risk factors may develop cancer. Possible risk factors for carcinoid tumors include:
Last updated on 05-01-20
Carcinoid tumors generally have been considered to be sporadic, except for a small proportion which occur as a part of multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) syndromes. Carcinoid tumors most notably may occur in MEN1, and occasionally in MEN2. These conditions are caused by mutations in the MEN1 and RET genes, respectively, and most cases are considered to have an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. When associated with these familial syndromes, carcinoids are more likely to develop in the foregut, especially in the thymus and lung.
It has been reported that even when a carcinoid tumor does not appear to be associated with MEN, there does appear to be an increased risk for developing a carcinoid tumor among first-degree relatives; this suggests that some carcinoid tumors may be familial. However, little data are available on the percentage of individuals with a carcinoid tumor that have a family history of carcinoid tumors.
Last updated on 05-01-20
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