Gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumors are slow-growing tumors that form in the GI tract, mainly in the rectum, small intestine, or appendix. Explore the links on this page to learn more about GI carcinoid tumor treatment and clinical trials.

Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors Treatment

  • A gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor is cancer that forms in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Health history can affect the risk of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.
  • Some gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors have no signs or symptoms in the early stages.
  • Carcinoid syndrome may occur if the tumor spreads to the liver or other parts of the body.
  • Imaging studies and tests that examine the blood and urine are used to detect (find) and diagnose gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

A gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor is cancer that forms in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is part of the body’s digestive system. It helps to digest food, takes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from food to be used by the body and helps pass waste material out of the body. The GI tract is made up of these and other organs:

  • Stomach.
  • Small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum).
  • Colon.
  • Rectum

Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors form from a certain type of neuroendocrine cell (a type of cell that is like a nerve cell and a hormone-making cell). These cells are scattered throughout the chest and abdomen but most are found in the GI tract. Neuroendocrine cells make hormones that help control digestive juices and the muscles used in moving food through the stomach and intestines. A GI carcinoid tumor may also make hormones and release them into the body.

GI carcinoid tumors are rare and most grow very slowly. Most of them occur in the small intestine, rectum, and appendix. Sometimes more than one tumor will form.

Health history can affect the risk of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.

Anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk.

Risk factors for GI carcinoid tumors include the following:

  • Having a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome or neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) syndrome.
  • Having certain conditions that affect the stomach’s ability to make stomach acid, such as atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia, or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Carcinoid syndrome may occur if the tumor spreads to the liver or other parts of the body.The hormones made by gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors are usually destroyed by liver enzymes in the blood. If the tumor has spread to the liver and the liver enzymes cannot destroy the extra hormones made by the tumor, high amounts of these hormones may remain in the body and cause carcinoid syndrome. This can also happen if tumor cells enter the blood.

Signs and symptoms of carcinoid syndrome include the following:

  • Redness or a feeling of warmth in the face and neck.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Feeling bloated.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Wheezing or other trouble breathing.
  • Fast heartbeat.

These signs and symptoms may be caused by gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors or by other conditions. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these signs or symptoms.

Childhood Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors Treatment

Signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors depend on where the tumor forms.

Check with your child’s doctor if you are concerned about signs and symptoms that may be caused by gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors or by other conditions.

Carcinoid tumors in the appendix may cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain, especially on the lower right side of the abdomen.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors that are not in the appendix may release hormones and other substances. Carcinoid syndrome occurs when a carcinoid tumor in the digestive tract releases the hormone serotonin and other substances. It may cause any of the following signs and symptoms. Check with your child’s doctor if your child has any of the following:

  • Redness and a warm feeling in the face, neck, and upper chest.
  • A fast heartbeat.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure (restlessness, confusion, weakness, dizziness, and pale, cool, and clammy skin).
  • Diarrhea.

Signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors depend on where the tumor forms.

Check with your child’s doctor if you are concerned about signs and symptoms that may be caused by gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors or by other conditions.

Carcinoid tumors in the appendix may cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain, especially on the lower right side of the abdomen.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors that are not in the appendix may release hormones and other substances. Carcinoid syndrome occurs when a carcinoid tumor in the digestive tract releases the hormone serotonin and other substances. It may cause any of the following signs and symptoms. Check with your child’s doctor if your child has any of the following:

  • Redness and a warm feeling in the face, neck, and upper chest.
  • A fast heartbeat.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure (restlessness, confusion, weakness, dizziness, and pale, cool, and clammy skin).
  • Diarrhea.

 

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.