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It is a slow-growing type of neuroendocrine tumor originating in the cells of the neuroendocrine system.
They are most commonly found in the midgut at the level of the ileum (75 – 87% cases). The next most common affected area is the respiratory tract with 28% cases of all cases.
Carcinoid tumors are apudomas that arise from the enterochromaffin cells throughout the gut. Over two-thirds of carcinoid tumors are found in the gastrointestinal tract. The appendix as the most common site. (LQ 2012)
Most carcinoids are asymptomatic through the natural lifetime. But all carcinoids are considered to have malignant potential.
About 10% of carcinoids secrete excessive levels of serotonin (5-HT) (LQ 2012), causing:
  1. Flushing
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Wheezing
  4. Abdominal cramping
  5. Peripheral edema
The outflow of serotonin can cause a depletion of tryptophan leading to niacin deficiency. Niacin deficiency, (pellagra), is associated with dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea.
This constellation of symptoms is called carcinoid syndrome or (if acute) carcinoid crisis. Occasionally, haemorrhage or the effects of tumor bulk are the presenting symptoms. The most common originating sites of carcinoid is the small bowel, particularly the ileum; carcinoid tumors are the most common malignancy of the appendix. 
Surgery is the only curative therapy.
Chemotherapy is of little benefit and is generally not indicated. Octreotide or Lanreotide (somatostatin analogues) may decrease the secretory activity of the carcinoid, and may also have an anti-proliferative effect. Interferon treatment is also effective, and usually combined with somatostatin analogues.

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