Clinical Implications of Neuroendocrine Tumors
Neuroendocrine tumors may be functioning or nonfuctioning and symptoms may be caused by mechanical effects of the tumor itself or by the systemic effects of tumor hormonal products. In patients with nonfunctioning, more often pancreatic, neuroendocrine tumors, the presenting symptoms are not specific and may be associated with a tumor growth or the development of metastases. Neuroendocrine tumors represent a very heterogenous group of neoplasms and their clinical behaviour is extremely variable, ranging from slow-growing tumors, which is the majority, to highly aggressive and very malignant tumors. Furthermore, and this is probably due to the fact that these tumors are rather rare, often with slow evolution, that they are many times diagnosed once they already have metastases.
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