The current status in diagnosis of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors

Authors D. Dimitroulopoulos, Aikaterini Fotopoulou, D. Xinopoulos, K. Tsamakidis, E. Paraskevas.


The carcinoid tumor, argentaffinoma, is a member of a very
exclusive neoplastic family, known also in the past as neuroendocrine
or amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation
tumors. Carcinoids have been found to arise from almost
every organ and system derived from the primitive endoderm,
but most frequently originated from the gastrointestinal
tract, accounting for approximately half of all gastrointestinal
endocrine tumors. Between 75,5 and 90% of all
gastrointestinal carcinoids are located in only three sites: the
appendix, rectum and small intestine. Irrespectively to their
location, carcinoids are capable of producing various peptides.
These tumors may present at different disease stages
with either hormonal or hormonal-related symptoms/syndromes,
or without hormonal symptoms and may occur either
sporadically or as a part of hereditary syndromes. Their
clinical course is often indolent but can also be aggressive and
resistant to treatment. This review provides a broad outline
of progress that has been made in the elucidation of their
clinical and laboratory diagnosis including recent advances
in genetics, molecular biology, histopathology, biochemical
markers, radiologic and scintigraphic imaging and endoscopy
of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.