What are carcinoid tumors?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Cameron K Tebbi, MD; Chief Editor: Max J Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Carcinoid tumors are derived from primitive stem cells in the gut wall but can be seen in other organs, [5] including the lungs, [6] mediastinum, thymus, [7] liver, pancreas, bronchus, ovaries, [12] prostate, [13] and kidneys. [26] In children, most tumors occur in the appendix and are benign and asymptomatic.

Most carcinoid tumors are slow growing and indolent without symptoms. Nevertheless, aggressive and metastatic disease (eg, to the brain) does occur. Even tumors in the appendix can metastasize. [27, 28] Depending on the size and location, carcinoid tumors can cause various symptoms, including carcinoid syndrome. Carcinoid tumors of the ileum and jejunum, especially those larger than 1 cm, are most prone to produce this syndrome, at least in adults.

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