Neuroendocrine tumours are cancers originating from endocrine cells. They most commonly begin in the small intestine (carcinoid), lung or pancreas, or in other parts of the GI tract such as appendix, stomach, colon and rectum. Although most neuroendocrine tumours grow slowly, there are some which are capable of rapid growth.
Since these cancers come from endocrine cells, they have the capacity to produce hormones. Typical hormones produced are serotonin from carcinoid tumours, as well as glucagon, gastrin, VIP and insulin made by certain pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours. Production of serotonin from carcinoid tumours can cause carcinoid syndrome resulting in symptoms such as diarrhoea, flushing, shortness of breath, palpitations and injury to heart valves. However, in most cases, carcinoid tumours produce no hormone-related symptoms at all.
Our multidisciplinary carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumour team meets monthly to recommend optimal personalised care for patients with these rare tumours.