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Oncologist. 2008 Dec;13(12):1255-69. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2008-0207. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Carcinoid tumors.

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  • 1Section of Endocrine Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53792, USA.


Carcinoid tumors are rare, slow-growing neuroendocrine tumors arising from the enterochromaffin cells disseminated throughout the gastrointestinal and bronchopulmonary systems. Though they have been traditionally classified based on embryologic site of origin, morphologic pattern, and silver affinity, newer classification systems have been developed to emphasize the considerable clinical and histopathologic variability of carcinoid tumors found within each embryologic site of origin. These neoplasms pose a diagnostic challenge because they are often innocuous at the time of presentation, emphasizing the need for a multidisciplinary diagnostic approach using biochemical analysis, standard cross-sectional imaging, and newer advances in nuclear medicine. Similarly, treatment of both primary and disseminated carcinoid disease reflects the need for a multidisciplinary approach, with surgery remaining the only curative modality. The prognosis for patients with these tumors is generally favorable; however, it can be quite variable and is related to the location of the primary tumor, extent of metastatic disease at initial presentation, and time of diagnosis.

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