Carcinoid tumors are a type of
neuroendocrine tumor that can develop in the appendix, gastrointestinal tract,
or lungs. These tumors are occasionally found growing in the appendix after it
is removed during an episode of appendicitis.
The majority of carcinoid tumors in
children are small, slow-growing, and benign. In rare cases, these tumors can
grow more quickly and spread to other sites in the body.
About 10% of patients with multiple
endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) develop carcinoid tumors.
Children with carcinoid tumors are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's
through our Endocrine-Oncology Program in
conjunction with our Solid
Tumor Center. Our integrated pediatric oncology service offers—in
one specialized program—the combined expertise of a leading cancer center and a
premier children’s hospital. We build a team to treat your child consisting of
oncologists, endocrinologists, genetic counselors, and surgeons.
Continue reading for more information about carcinoid tumors or visit the Endocrine-Oncology
Program page to learn more about our expertise or meet our treatment
As a parent,
you undoubtedly want to know what may have caused your child’s tumor. Some carcinoid tumors are linked to inherited
conditions, such as MEN1. However, most carcinoid tumors emerge with no known
The symptoms of a carcinoid tumor may vary from child to
child and depend on where the tumor is located and what kind of tumor it is.
Symptoms might mimic other, more common ailments. Some of the most
common symptoms include:
of these symptoms can also point to other conditions, it’s important to have
your child evaluated by a qualified medical professional right away.
The first step in treating your child is forming an
accurate and complete diagnosis. Your child’s physician may order a number of
different tests including:
may be other diagnostic tests that your doctor will discuss with you depending
on your child's individual situation. After we complete all necessary tests,
our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your
child's condition. Then, we will meet with you and your family to discuss the
results and outline the best possible treatment options.
your child's carcinoid tumor will depend on its location and whether it has
spread. Your child's doctor may recommend:
Children who are treated through our Endocrine-Oncology Program benefit from
the work of our basic and clinical researchers, who are striving to understand
the scientific causes of endocrine cancers. Their work can result in the
introduction of new treatment options. We are a world leader in translational
research, bringing laboratory advances to the bedside and into doctors’ offices
as quickly as possible.
trials, or research studies evaluating new treatment approaches, are a major
offering at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. For many children with rare or
hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.
that your child will be eligible to participate in one of our clinical trials.
In addition to launching our own clinical trials, we also offer trials
available through collaborative groups such as the Children's
Oncology Group (COG). If your child
has a progressive or recurrent tumor, she may be eligible for a number of
experimental therapies available through these groups or from one of our
independent clinical investigators.
Your child’s outlook will likely depend on where the
tumor is and whether it has spread.
For tumors growing in the appendix, often an
appendectomy is the only thing needed to completely remove the tumor. In this
situation, a child’s prognosis is excellent. Larger tumors in other locations
or those that have spread throughout the body are more difficult to treat and
may require surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or other therapies or
treated for carcinoid tumors should visit a survivorship clinic yearly. Through
B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic, our cancer survivorship
clinic, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation
from their cancer care team. In addition to meeting with your pediatric
oncologists, your child may see one of our endocrinologists, cardiologists, neurologists,
neuro-psychologists, or alternative/complementary therapy specialists. We also offer patient and family
education, psychosocial assessment, genetic counseling, reproductive counseling, and opportunities to speak with other
childhood cancer survivors.
Lindsay Frazier, MD, explains how a multidisciplinary team of specialists come together to deliver care for solid tumors.