Carcinoid tumours are a type of neuroendocrine tumour that can occur in a number of locations. Carcinoid tumours arise from endocrine amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation (APUD) cells that can be found throughout the gastrointestinal tract as well as other organs (e.g. lung). In general, they are slow growing tumours but are nevertheless capable of metastasising.
- can be variable, dependent on the location:
- carcinoid tumours involving the jejunum and ileum can be large at presentation but are usually found incidentally
- rectal carcinoids may cause pain
- gastrointestinal tract carcinoid can present as vague abdominal pain
- carcinoid syndrome: in 8% of patients with a carcinoid tumour 9
- gastrointestinal tract carcinoid (60-85% of all carcinoids) 11,12
- carcinoid tumours of the lung (~25% of all carcinoids)
- primary hepatic carcinoid
- ovarian carcinoid: accounts for 0.5% of carcinoid tumours and 0.3% of ovarian tumours 7
- thymic carcinoid
- 5-HIAA (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid): usually suggests a functioning carcinoid tumour
- chromogranin A (CgA): considered a valuable tool in the diagnosis of neuroendocrine neoplasia in general 6
Refer to specific articles (above) for imaging characteristics.
111In-octreotide (Octreoscan) will concentrate in gastrointestinal tract carcinoid tumours as well as in liver metastases, and is generally considered the test of choice due to its high sensitivity 14.
123I-MIBG will also concentrate in carcinoid tumours, including the low percentage (~15%) that are negative with 111In-octreotide 13.
68Ga-octreotide PET scan: usually avid
Treatment and prognosis
History and etymology
It was initially coined by Oberndorfer in 1907 as “Karzinoide” to denote its resemblance to carcinoma 4.
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