Skip to Content

Carcinoid Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Carcinoid Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • carcinoid cancer
  • carcinoid disease
  • functioning carcinoid
  • carcinoid apudoma
  • functioning argentaffinoma
  • neuroendocrine tumor carcinoid type
  • malignant carcinoid syndrome

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Carcinoid syndrome is a disease consisting of a combination of symptoms, physical manifestations, and abnormal laboratory findings. Carcinoid syndrome is seen in individuals who have an underlying carcinoid tumour with spread to the liver. Carcinoid tumors are well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumours with secretory properties, releasing serotonin, along with a number of other active peptides. These tumors can arise anywhere along the primitive gut and are therefore found in the bronchial tree (airways) and along the gastrointestinal tract. The tumor cells can also migrate (metastasize) to the liver.

Carcinoid tumors most commonly occur in the small intestine and appendix, but 10% originate in the lung. Other affected areas include the rectum, colon, pancreas, stomach, ovary, thymus, kidney, prostate, breast and elsewhere. These slow-growing malignancies tend to spread to lymph nodes and the liver but can also metastasize to lung, bone, brain, and skin.

Only about 10% of the people with a carcinoid tumor will develop carcinoid syndrome. Major symptoms of this syndrome include hot, red facial flushing, diarrhea and wheezing. Carcinoid syndrome occurs when the tumor produces excessive amounts of serotonin in an individual with liver metastases. In patients who have no spread to the liver, the serotonin released by an intestinal tumor will be broken down to an inactive substance; thus, carcinoid syndrome does not occur.

Resources

American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams NW St
Ste 6000
Atlanta, GA 30303
USA
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345
TDD: (866)228-4327
Internet: http://www.cancer.org

Carcinoid Cancer Foundation
333 Mamaroneck Avenue #492
White Plains, NY 10605
USA
Tel: (914)683-1001
Fax: (914)683-0183
Tel: (888)722-3132
Email: carcinoid@optonline.net
Internet: http://www.carcinoid.org

Rare Cancer Alliance
1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614
USA
Internet: http://www.rare-cancer.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Caring for Carcinoid Foundation
198 Tremont Street
P.O. Box 456
Boston, MA 02116
Tel: (617)948-2514
Fax: (617)948-2501
Email: info@caringforcarcinoid.org
Internet: http://www.caringforcarcinoid.org

Friends of Cancer Research
1800 M Street NW
Suite 1050 South
Washington, DC 22202
Tel: (202)944-6700
Email: info@focr.org
Internet: http://www.focr.org

Cancer.Net
American Society of Clinical Oncology
2318 Mill Road Suite 800
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (571)483-1780
Fax: (571)366-9537
Tel: (888)651-3038
Email: contactus@cancer.net
Internet: http://www.cancer.net/

Cancer Support Community
1050 17th St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202)659-9709
Fax: (202)974-7999
Tel: (888)793-9355
Internet: http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/

Lance Armstrong Foundation
2201 E. Sixth Street
Austin, TX 78702
Tel: (512)236-8820
Fax: (512)236-8482
Tel: (877)236-8820
Email: media@livestrong.org
Internet: http://www.livestrong.org

NET Patient Foundation
Boxtrees Farm
The Farm House
Stratford Road
Hockley Heath, B94 6EA
United Kingdom
Tel: 08004346476
Internet: http://www.netpatientfoundation.org

Hageman Foundation
1027 Hampshire Drive
Maryville, TN 37801
Tel: (865)238-5842
Fax: (865)238-5844
Tel: (866)612-8579
Email: Info@HagemanFoundation.org
Internet: http://www.HagemanFoundation.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  5/7/2012
Copyright  1989, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Classes & Events

  • Ongoing
    Acupuncture is a form of holistic medicine and is respected worldwide as a safe and effective approach to health.
  • Ongoing
    Acupuncture is a form of holistic medicine and is respected worldwide as a safe and effective approach to health.
  • Ongoing
    12-week program for cancer survivors designed to help transform their lifestyles.