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Oncology (Williston Park). 2011 Aug;25(9):794-803.

Surgical management of neuroendocrine tumors of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Department of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5641, USA.


Neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas (islet cell tumors) and of the luminal gastrointestinal tract (carcinoids) are a heterogeneous group of epithelial neoplasms that share certain common characteristics. First, they are similar histologically and are difficult to distinguish under light microscopy. Second, they can be associated with hypersecretory syndromes. Third, they are generally slow-growing and have a better prognosis than adenocarcinomas at the same site; however, they do become incurable when they progress to unresectable metastatic disease. Surgery is the only curative treatment and is recommended for most patients for whom cross-sectional imaging suggests that complete resection is possible. This article reviews the surgical management of gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors, including the preoperative control of hormonal symptoms, extent of resection required, postoperative outcomes, and differing management strategies as determined by whether the tumor has arisen sporadically or as part of a familial disorder, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1).

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