Metastatic Carcinoid Tumors

What are Metastatic Carcinoid Tumors?

Metastatic carcinoid tumors are malignant tumors that have spread to other parts of the body from their original site. These tumors usually originate from neuroendocrine cells located in the small intestine. Metastatic carcinoid tumors occur in 1-2% of all cancer cases and can be found in different organs including the lung, liver, bone, and small intestine.

The most common signs and symptoms of metastatic carcinoid tumors are persistent coughing and shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and pain, fatigue, and flushed skin. Some less common symptoms include chest pain, bloody stools, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.


To diagnose metastatic carcinoid tumors, doctors will usually order a CT scan, MRI, X-ray, bronchoscopy, ultrasound, or endoscopy. These tests help to find out where the cancer has spread and how far it has spread. The doctor may also request a biopsy of the tissue to confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment options for metastatic carcinoid tumors depend on the location and size of the tumor as well as the patient’s overall health.

  • Surgery: Surgery is used to remove cancerous cells or to reduce the size of a tumor. In some cases, the entire tumor may be removed.
  • Chemotherapy: This involves the use of medications to kill cancer cells or to stop them from growing. Chemotherapy may be used as a single treatment or for long-term management of the cancer.
  • Radiotherapy: This involves the use of radiation to target and kill cancer cells.
  • Targeted drug therapy: This involves the use of medications that can block certain pathways that cancer cells use to grow and spread.
  • Immunotherapy: This involves the use of medications to stimulate the immune system to help it fight the cancer.


Metastatic carcinoid tumors can be treated if they are caught early. Most patients respond well to treatments, but the outcome depends on the extent of the cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, and any other medical conditions.

It is important for patients to work closely with their healthcare team to ensure they are receiving the best care possible. They should also receive regular check-ups and follow-up care to monitor for any recurrence.