What Is A Metastatic Neuroendocrine Tumour & Where Do Neuroendocrine Tumours Metastasize?

A neuroendocrine tumor is a tumor that occurs in the neuroendocrine cells in the body.

What Is A Metastatic Neuroendocrine Tumour?

A metastatic neuroendocrine tumor is the one which has spread from the place of its origin to other different parts in the body. Usually, the cancer cells break off and separate from the main tumor or the site of cancer and then travel through the bloodstream to different parts of the body. The same is the case with the neuroendocrine tumors.

Where Do Neuroendocrine Tumours Metastasize?

Neuroendocrine tumors most often metastasize to the liver. Those who are diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors are usually diagnosed with neuroendocrine liver metastases (NLM). NLM is responsible for causing a high rate of morbidity and mortality in those affected. Those having NLM have an even worse prognosis than those without it. Surgical intervention is always the choice of treatment for people with NLM. However, due to extensive metastases in difficult locations, the candidates eligible for surgical intervention are limited to a mere 10 %. Those that do not have surgical intervention as an option, these days several other techniques as well as new medical therapies provide a promising outcome(1)

There are various treatment options available for treating the neuroendocrine tumor. The options may include-

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Medication etc.

The type of treatment that you will receive will depend upon various factors, including –

  • The type of tumor
  • The number of tumors
  • The size of the tumor
  • The location of the tumor
  • Whether it is malignant, benign or indolent
  • Whether it has spread to other parts of the body

Surgery-

  • Surgery is usually the choice of treatment for neuroendocrine tumor
  • It can help in completely removing some tumors, especially those that haven’t spread wide and are not cancerous
  • Surgery may help in removing the tumor, or it may help in removing a part or all organs that have been affected by the cancer
  • Other forms of surgery, like radiofrequency ablation, can be used for those people who cannot go for a standard procedure. This method with its high energy radio waves will kill the cancer cells in an area.
  • For these kinds of surgeries, the doctor may need the help of MRI scans or ultrasound to guide the probe to reach the desired spot.(2)

Hormonal Therapy-

  • This treatment method is commonly used for treating carcinoids.
  • In this method, manual somatostatin is used, which helps in prohibiting the tumor from making hormones that cause carcinoid related symptoms.
  • This method may also be helpful in shrinking the tumor(2)

Radiation Therapy-

  • In this method, x-rays are used to target and destroy cancer cells.
  • This method is usually used when the tumor has spread, or it is located at such place that the doctors will not be able to reach it otherwise.
  • However, radiation therapy can cause certain side effects as it also damages the healthy cells along with the cancerous cells.(2)

Chemotherapy-

  • In this method, medicines are used to kill cancer cells or prevent them from spreading to other places.
  • This method, however, has some side effects, as along with the cancer cells the healthy cells are damaged as well.(2)

Embolization-

  • In this method, the blood supply that helps the tumor thrive is blocked.
  • This treatment can be useful in case cancer has spread to the liver and is unremovable(2)

Targeted Therapy-

  • In this method, special medicines that attack tumor genes or proteins on tumor cells are used to kill cancer.
  • This treatment is beneficial since it does not harm the healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy or radiation therapy.(2)

Conclusion

A metastatic endocrine tumor is the one that has spread from its place of origin to other parts of the body. Neuroendocrine tumors usually metastasize in the liver.

References:  

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