Treatment for Neuroendocrine or Carcinoid Tumors

Carcinoid tumors can cause significant gastrointestinal issues. Learn how Dr. Iyer treats these tumors to greatly improve patients’ quality of life.

More Options, Better Outcomes: RPCI's Treatment Approach for Neuroendocrine or Carcinoid Tumors

The neuroendocrine team at Roswell Park follows the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ — the internationally recognized standards for clinical policy in oncology, and the most comprehensive, most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. These National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines have been developed by panels of leading experts, many of whom represent Roswell Park.

The main methods of treatment include:

The treatment approaches are different for high grade and low grade neuroendocrine tumors.

High grade neuroendocrine carcinomas are more aggressive than low grade neuroendocrine tumors. Instead of trying to remove the tumors with surgery, chemotherapy is used. High grade tumors aren’t as responsive to chemotherapy as low grade tumors are.

For low grade tumors, the two main aims for treatment are to:

  • Find and remove as many of the tumors as possible (called debulking)
  • Manage symptoms caused when the tumors secrete hormones (carcinoid syndrome)

Surgery

Neuroendocrine tumors often spread to the liver. If the number of tumors is small, they can be removed surgically. Due to the regenerative capacity of the liver, up to 70 percent of the liver can be removed. In certain cases this can be done with minimally invasive surgery (using a laparoscopic approach). This avoids a large incision and decreases the recovery time.

Clinical Trials

Patients may also be eligible for a clinical trial. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.