Neuroendocrine tumor staging provides a uniform way to describe the extent and spread of a cancer. This information is helpful to physicians in determining the best course of treatment for a patient. However, in terms of a patient’s prognosis, the stage of a neuroendocrine tumor is somewhat less significant than the stage is for other types of cancer. For instance, some patients with very late-stage neuroendocrine tumors can be treated successfully with surgery, ablation therapy and/or chemotherapy and live long, high-quality lives.
Neuroendocrine tumor staging, which is used to classify a patient’s cancer as low grade or high grade, is determined based on the:
- Site of origin – Broad categories include the foregut (lung or stomach), midgut (colon), hindgut (sigmoid colon or rectum), pancreas and distal tumors (adrenal gland, ovary, ear or heart).
- Clinical syndrome – A tumor can be classified as functional or nonfunctional depending on whether its cells produce an excessive amount of hormones.
- Grade and differentiation – The biological aggressiveness and rate of proliferation (extent and growth rate) of the cancer cells are evaluated to further categorize a tumor.
Low-grade tumors are often treated with surgery followed by chemotherapy. High-grade tumors are more aggressive and usually treated with chemotherapy alone. The goal of treatment is to destroy as many cancer cells as possible.
In Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, patients with neuroendocrine tumors have access to the most advanced diagnostic services for neuroendocrine tumor staging, as well as a wide range of treatment options, including exciting clinical trial opportunities. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt is well known and respected for conducting extensive research and discovering breakthrough therapies. Every day, we gain more ground toward finding a cure.
If you’d like to learn more about neuroendocrine tumor staging, you can consult with the experts at Moffitt with or without a referral. Call 1-888-663-3488, or complete a new patient registration form online.