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Neuroendocrine tumours: a hope and a prayer
  1. Ashley Grossman
  1. Professor Ashley Grossman, Barts and the London School of Medicine, London EC1A 7BE, UK; a.b.grossman{at}

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Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) include a large and protean group of tumours which have certain characteristics in common, and arise from a variety of endocrine cell types.13 Classically, they would exclude the pituitary and parathyroid tumours, but include tumours arising from neuroendocrine cells in the gastrointestinal and bronchial tracts, formerly known as carcinoids (a term invented by Siegried Oberndorfer in 1907), the pancreatic islet cells and in some classifications also the parafollicular C cells of the thyroid (medullary thyroid carcinoma) and tumours arising from the sympatho-adrenomedullary system, phaeochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Apart from early surgical intervention, there is essentially no curative modality of treatment. These tumours are not in general very sensitive to conventional chemotherapy or radiotherapy; they also differ from some other malignancies in that surgical intervention has a place even in the presence of metastatic disease, including debulking of primary tumours, metastatectomy, and also other palliative ablative techniques such as radionuclide therapy with [131I]MIBG and [90Y/177Lu]octreotide/octreotate, radiofrequency ablation, hepatic embolisation and chemoembolisation, all of which …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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