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Oncologist. 2005 Feb;10(2):123-31.

Metastatic carcinoid tumors: a clinical review.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Carcinoid tumors are neuroendocrine tumors derived from enterochromaffin cells, which are widely distributed in the body. They can originate from any location in the body, but they are traditionally described as originating from the foregut, midgut, and hindgut. Although the overall incidence of carcinoid tumors appears to have increased in the past decades, the prognosis for patients with metastatic carcinoid tumors has improved during the last decade. Due to longer survival times, complications, such as carcinoid heart disease, and new metastatic patterns, like skin and bone metastases, may become more important features of carcinoid disease. Therapy focused on these complications should be part of the management. Combining new diagnostic and treatment modalities in metastatic carcinoid patients may result in better quality of life and longer survival times. The increasing number of therapeutic options and diagnostic procedures requires a multidisciplinary approach, with decisions made in multidisciplinary meetings focused on "tailor-made" therapy based on patients' specific conditions. Because carcinoid tumors are uncommon, effort should be made to treat these patients in specialized centers and for these centers to join together in multicenter studies.

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