About Neuroendocrine Tumors

About Neuroendocrine Tumors

At Penn Medicine, patients with neuroendocrine tumors receive their care from a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized experts in the diagnosis, treatment and research of cancer.

Penn's Neuroendocrine Tumor Program treats the following:

  • Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs)
    • Alimentary tract (carcinoid tumors)
    • Pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs)
  • Pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas (PHEOs)
  • Other neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)

Penn Medicine offers one of the only dedicated NET programs in the country with the combined expertise to treat both GEP-NETs and PHEOs. In addition, Penn's program is the first and only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region.

Penn Medicine's multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment provides better outcomes and gives patients access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials.

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

About Neuroendocrine Tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) form from cells that release hormones in response to a signal from the nervous system. Some examples of neuroendocrine tumors are carcinoid tumors, islet cell tumors, phechromocytomas and Merkel cell cancers.

Neuroendocrine tumors are often small and can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Carcinoid tumors most commonly develop in the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, appendix and colon. Rarely, carcinoid tumors occur in the lungs and bronchial tissue. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PETs) typically develop in the pancreas and duodenum.

Not all NETs cause symptoms. However, because they originate from hormone producing tissues, the symptoms they cause can be linked to the release of various hormones into the blood stream causing:

  • Facial flushing
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low blood sugar
  • Wheezing
  • A feeling of abdominal fullness