Types of Neuroendocrine Tumors

There are several types of neuroendocrine tumors, and each requires a different treatment approach. Neuroendocrine tumors can affect various areas of the body. These solid masses can develop when specialized neuroendocrine cells, which act as an interface between the endocrine system and the nervous system, undergo changes that cause them to grow and divide uncontrollably. The resulting accumulation of cells can bind together and form a mass, or tumor, which can be benign or malignant.

Neuroendocrine tumors are generally classified by their site of origin. Some specific types of neuroendocrine tumors include:

  • Carcinoid tumors in the lungs, gastrointestinal tract or thymus
  • Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (islet cell cancer)
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Merkel cell carcinoma (neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin)
  • Pheochromocytoma of the adrenal gland
  • Adrenal cancer
  • Small cell carcinoma, most commonly of the lung
  • Large cell carcinoid tumor, most commonly of the lung

The type of tumor that a patient is diagnosed with will typically influence the treatments recommended by an oncologist. Other factors that are considered in determining the best possible treatment for a neuroendocrine tumor include its location, whether it produces excess hormones, how aggressive it is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Patients with neuroendocrine tumors of all types and stages can turn with confidence to Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, where they will have access to the latest diagnostic services and most promising treatment options available. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt has received national recognition for its committed research efforts and robust portfolio of clinical trials. Our multispecialty tumor board reviews each patient’s case, recommends a treatment plan and then meets weekly to monitor the patient’s progress and refine treatment as necessary. As such, our patients receive the benefit of multiple expert opinions in a single location.

If you’d like to learn about treatments for the various types of neuroendocrine tumors, the experts at Moffitt can help. Call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete a new patient registration form online. No referrals are required.