Best practice & research. Clinical gastroenterology

Neuroendocrine tumours of the small intestine.

PMID 23582917


The prevalence of intestinal neuroendocrine tumours, also known as carcinoid tumours, has increased significantly over the past three decades. Tumours of the distal small intestine (midgut) are often indolent, but are characterized by a high potential to metastasize to the small-bowel mesentery and liver. Patients with distant metastases are prone to development of the carcinoid syndrome, a constellation of symptoms which includes flushing, diarrhoea, and valvular heart disease. The carcinoid syndrome is caused by secretion of serotonin and other vasoactive substances into the systemic circulation. Treatment options for metastatic intestinal NETs have expanded in recent years. Of particular importance has been the development of somatostatin-analogue therapies. Somatostatin analogues were originally introduced for palliation of the carcinoid syndrome; however recent clinical trials have demonstrated that they can exert an inhibitory effect on tumour growth. Other novel agents targeting the VEGF and mTOR pathways have recently been evaluated in phase III trials, however their role in the management of small-intestinal NETs remains controversial. This article examines the biological characteristics of small intestinal NETs, summarizes current guidelines on classification, staging and grading, and reviews developments in locoregional and systemic therapy.

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H2917 Hexokinase-2 human, 1 mg/mL, buffered aqueous glycerol solution