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Treatment Options for Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors

For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.

Carcinoid Tumors in the Stomach

Treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumors in the stomach may include the following:

  • Endoscopic surgery (resection) for small tumors.
  • Surgery (resection) to remove part or all of the stomach. Nearby lymph nodes for larger tumors, tumors that grow deep into the stomach wall, or tumors that are growing and spreading quickly may also be removed.

For patients with GI carcinoid tumors in the stomach and MEN1 syndrome, treatment may also include:

  • Surgery (resection) to remove tumors in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine, that connects to the stomach).
  • Hormone therapy.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Carcinoid Tumors in the Small Intestine

It is not clear what the best treatment is for GI carcinoid tumors in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine, that connects to the stomach). Treatment may include the following:

  • Endoscopic surgery (resection) for small tumors.
  • Surgery (local excision) to remove slightly larger tumors.
  • Surgery (resection) to remove the tumor and nearby lymph nodes.

Treatment of GI carcinoid tumors in the jejunum (middle part of the small intestine) and ileum (last part of the small intestine, that connects to the colon) may include the following:

  • Surgery (resection) to remove the tumor and the membrane that connects the intestines to the back of the abdominal wall. Nearby lymph nodes are also removed.
  • A second surgery to remove the membrane that connects the intestines to the back of the abdominal wall, if any tumor remains or the tumor continues to grow.
  • Hormone therapy.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Carcinoid Tumors in the Appendix

Treatment of GI carcinoid tumors in the appendix may include the following:

  • Surgery (resection) to remove the appendix.
  • Surgery (resection) to remove the right side of the colon including the appendix. Nearby lymph nodes are also removed.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Carcinoid Tumors in the Colon

Treatment of GI carcinoid tumors in the colon may include the following:

  • Surgery (resection) to remove part of the colon and nearby lymph nodes, in order to remove as much of the cancer as possible.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Carcinoid Tumors in the Rectum

Treatment of GI carcinoid tumors in the rectum may include the following:

  • Endoscopic surgery (resection) for tumors that are smaller than 1 centimeter.
  • Surgery (resection) for tumors that are larger than 2 centimeters or that have spread to the muscle layer of the rectal wall. This may be either:
    • surgery to remove part of the rectum; or
    • surgery to remove the anus, the rectum, and part of the colon through an incision made in the abdomen.

It is not clear what the best treatment is for tumors that are 1 to 2 centimeters. Treatment may include the following:

  • Endoscopic surgery (resection).
  • Surgery (resection) to remove part of the rectum.
  • Surgery (resection) to remove the anus, the rectum, and part of the colon through an incision made in the abdomen.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Metastatic Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors

Distant metastases

Treatment of distant metastases of GI carcinoid tumors is usually palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (resection) to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
  • Hormone therapy.
  • Radiopharmaceutical therapy.
  • External radiation therapy for cancer that has spread to the bone, brain, or spinal cord.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Liver metastases

Treatment of cancer that has spread to the liver may include the following:

  • Surgery (local excision) to remove the tumor from the liver.
  • Hepatic artery embolization.
  • Cryosurgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation.
  • Liver transplant.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Recurrent Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors

Treatment of recurrent GI carcinoid tumors may include the following:

  • Surgery (local excision) to remove part or all of the tumor.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Navigating Care disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. This information was sourced and adapted from Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query (PDQ®) Cancer Information Summaries on www.cancer.gov.

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