Carcinoid Tumor - Stages and Types of Carcinoid Tumor

Neuroendocrine cells are present in various organs, and their function is to secrete hormones. Carcinoid tumors develop in these cells, resulting in increased production of the hormones. These tumors are slow-growing and do not cause symptoms in their early stages.

What is a Carcinoid Tumor?

Carcinoid tumors originate from neuroendocrine cells and are slow-growing tumors. These tumors secrete a variety of hormones and chemical substances. These tumors occur in various organs in the body.

The most common site is the gastrointestinal tract, which constitutes about 60% of all carcinoids. The second most common site is the respiratory tract (tracheobronchial tree), which constitutes about 25% of primary carcinoid cancer cases. Other sites for the occurrence of these tumors include the ovaries and kidneys. The signs and symptoms are due to elevated levels of hormones in the blood.

How Common are Carcinoid Tumors?

There is an increasing trend in the development of neuroendocrine tumors. The incidence of neuroendocrine tumors is about 2 per 1,00,000 population and accounts for about 0.5% of all cancers. The incidence of gastrointestinal carcinoid cancer has increased by over ten times during the last 30 years. However, the trend of occurrence is decreasing for some types of carcinoid tumors, such as appendix carcinoid tumors.

What are the Differences between Carcinoid Tumor and Carcinoid Syndrome?

Carcinoid tumors are malignant cells that secrete a significant amount of hormones and other substances into the blood. Carcinoid syndrome is characterized by the symptoms that are caused by elevated levels of those substances in the blood.

Almost 10% of people with carcinoid cancer experience carcinoid syndrome. The symptoms of carcinoid syndrome include head and neck flushing (resulting in the change of color from red to purple), excessive intestinal contraction (resulting in diarrhea and abdominal cramping), shortness of breath, wheezing (due to obstruction in the flow of air in the lungs), heart damage (that may cause edema of the legs and feet), low libido, and erectile dysfunction.

In Which Part of the Body are Carcinoid Tumors Found?

Some of the common locations where carcinoid cancers occur include:

Are Carcinoid Tumors Cancerous or Non-Cancerous?

Carcinoid tumors are cancerous and have the potential to metastasize to other organs. However, as compared to typical tumors, carcinoids are slow-growing, and most have a low potential to metastasize. Individuals with well-differentiated carcinoids have a relatively better prognosis, especially when the tumor is diagnosed at an early stage.

What are the Different Carcinoid Tumor Stages?

The stages of the carcinoid tumor of the stomach are:


Carcinoid tumors are a subsection of neuroendocrine tumors. They occur in several organs, such as the pancreas, stomach, kidney, ovaries, rectum, lungs, and appendix. The stages of carcinoid tumors are from I to IV, with stage IV being the most advanced stage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, all carcinoid tumors are cancerous, and many of them have the potential to spread to other organs.

The gastrointestinal tract, particularly the small intestine, is the most common site for carcinoid tumors.

A Type 3 carcinoid tumor is a type of gastric tumor. The disease is characterized by large lesions. Patients with this disease have normal gastric levels. Further, this type of carcinoid tumor is aggressive and usually diagnosed after metastasis.

Carcinoid tumors are usually slow-growing and take a long time to spread.

The types of hormones secreted by carcinoid tumors depend upon the location of the tumors.