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At the UPMC Neuroendocrine Cancer Treatment Center, we treat the following types of tumors:
Neuroendocrine cancer is a rare type of cancer that starts in the neuroendocrine system – the part of the body where the nervous system and endocrine system work together.
The nervous system, which consists of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and other key receptors, regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. The endocrine system helps regulate and maintain various body functions by making and releasing hormones into the bloodstream.
The neuroendocrine system in the human body is a diffuse, complex system of cells with different hormone profiles. These cells may transform from normal to malignant in many different locations throughout the body. Because of this, tumors are sometimes difficult to diagnose. Like other cancers, they can metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. It is rare that neuroendocrine cancer is genetically inherited and in the majority of cases the reason for occurrence is not understood.
Many neuroendocrine tumors secrete excessive amounts of different hormones, which can cause a variety of symptoms. While some of the tumors are unique and start in a particular site in the body, others are not.
Because the types of tumors and symptoms vary so widely, treatment is based on the type of cancer that our specialists identify after comprehensive diagnostic testing.
Bloodstream markers can be used to monitor response to treatment or progression in many neuroendocrine cancers. Markers routinely followed by our clinic include: chromgranin A, serotonin, catecholamine, gastrin, glucagon, insulin, growth hormone, neuron specific enolase, VIP, C peptide and pancreatic polypeptide.