Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Metastatic Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors

Although the definitive role of surgery in metastatic disease has not been established, conservative resections of the intestine, mesenteric tumors, and fibrotic areas may improve symptoms and quality of life substantially in patients with metastatic hepatic, mesenteric, and peritoneal carcinoids. If the condition of the patient is such that surgery is not a greater risk than the disease, the primary tumor should be resected to prevent an emergency presentation with obstruction, perforation, or bleeding.[1] Despite common acceptance that resection of at least 90% of the tumor burden is required to achieve palliation, approximately 60% of patients with surgery alone will experience symptom recurrence; the 5-year survival rate is between 35% and 80%, depending on the experience of the surgical center.[2,3] Because treatment with somatostatin analogs can achieve similar rates of symptom relief with fewer adverse effects, in each patient the benefits of surgical treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumors should be weighed carefully against the potential risks of an open exploration. Tumor debulking, however, may potentiate pharmacologic therapy by decreasing the secretion of bioactive substances.[4]

Management of hepatic metastases may include surgical resection; hepatic artery embolization; cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation; and orthotopic liver transplantation. (Refer to the Treatment of Hepatic Metastases section of the Treatment Option Overview section of this summary for more information.) Cytoreductive surgery for hepatic metastases from GI carcinoids can be performed safely with minimal morbidity and mortality resulting in regression of symptoms and prolonged survival in most patients.[5] In one large review that included 120 carcinoid patients, a biochemical response rate of 96% and a 5-year survival rate of 61% were reported for patients whose hepatic metastases were resected surgically.[6][Level of evidence: 3iiDii]

Recommended Related to Cancer

General Information About Penile Cancer

Incidence and Mortality Estimated new cases and deaths from penile (and other male genital) cancer in the United States in 2014:[1] New cases: 1,640. Deaths: 320. Risk Factors Penile cancer is rare in most developed nations, including the United States, where the rate is less than 1 per 100,000 men per year. Some studies suggest an association between human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and penile cancer.[2,3,4,5] Observational studies have shown a lower prevalence of penile...

Read the General Information About Penile Cancer article > >

In the case of liver metastases, localization and resection of the primary tumor may be considered, even among patients in whom the primary neoplasm is asymptomatic. In a retrospective study involving 84 patients, 60 of whom had their primary neoplasm resected, the resected group had a greater median progression-free survival (PFS) of 56 months, compared with 25 months of PFS for the primary nonresected group (P < .001). Median survival time for the resected group was longer at 159 months when compared with 47 months for the nonresected group (P < .001).[7][Level of evidence: 3iiDii ]

1 | 2
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas