Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors

Authors A.K. Zacharof ..


Neuroendocrine tumors of the gastrointestinal tract are
relatively rare neoplasms derived from the diffuse endocrine
system (DES), and classified as APUDomas. These
neoplasms include mainly pancreatic endocrine tumors (islet
cells) and carcinoids. Although malignant, these tumors
are often slow-growing. Frequently, these neoplasms secrete
hormonal peptides and vasoactive amines that can produce
specific endocrine syndromes (islet cell syndromes and
carcinoid syndrome). One of the most common symptoms
accompanying these syndromes is chronic diarrhea, which
can be refractory to standard therapies. Recent advances
in understanding the pathophysiology of these tumors have
led to better medical therapies for controlling symptoms,
diarrhea, and tumor growth. Surgery, chemotherapy, somatostatin
analogues, and biologic therapies can all contribute
to treatment. This review will cover recent advances
in diagnosing and treating these neoplasms and the symptoms
they produce.
Key words: Gastrointestinal, Neuroendocrine, Tumor, chronic