Neuroendocrine Tumors

Symptoms and Signs of Neuroendocrine Tumors (Carcinoid Tumors) in Children

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 4/6/2022

Doctor's Notes on Neuroendocrine Tumors (Carcinoid Tumors) in Children

Neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoid tumors) in children are abnormal cells in the lining of the stomach or intestines (or occasionally in the pancreas, lungs or liver) that are small, slow-growing benign tumors, some, in children, locate in the appendix. However, a few may become malignant (cancerous). Some release hormones that may cause carcinoid syndrome (symptoms due to the hormone produced). For example, somatostatin hormone release may produce the following signs and symptoms: Redness and a warm feeling in face and neck, fast heartbeats, trouble breathing, diarrhea, sudden blood pressure drops resulting in weakness, confusion, dizziness, and pale, cool and clammy skin.

The cause of neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoid tumors) in children is not well understood. However, if hormones are produced, symptoms mimic those seen in hormone overproduction like somatostatin described above.

What Are the Treatments for Neuroendocrine Tumors in Children?

Treatments for neuroendocrine tumors in children depend on their type and location. Your child's doctors may recommend more than one option to choose as there is some ongoing controversy about treatments. In addition, the choices of chemotherapy drug treatments may include ways to deliver the drugs and even some drugs may be recommended to use together. However, most treatments, in general, share the following procedures:

  • Surgery: biopsy and removal of entire tumor
  • Chemotherapy: drug choices and possible oral, IM, IV, or intrathecal (injection into the spinal canal or into the subarachnoid space) drugs
  • Radiation therapy: external beams, internal radiation (radiation source placed inside tissue or a body cavity) or systemic (radioactive compound(s) injected into bloodstream)

Your child's doctors can make recommendations for treatments, including getting a second opinion if you wish.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.