Neuroendocrinology is the branch of medical science that deals with the study of interactions between the Nervous system and endocrine system. Nervous system controls the hormonal secretion and hormones affect the nervous system. Hormones are essentially chemical messengers that transport signals from one cell to another in the body. Different hormones have different functions. 

Neuroendocrine cells are cells that receive neuronal input and, as a consequence of this input, release message molecules (hormones) to the blood. In this way they bring about integration between the nervous system and the endocrine system, a process known as neuroendocrine integration. A tumor develops when a lump is formed in your body due to abnormal cellular growth. It results in cancer when this cellular growth gets uncontrollable and it spreads in the body. 

Neuroendocrine tumors are cancers that begin in specialized cells called neuroendocrine cells. They arise from cells of the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems. They usually occur in the intestine, where they are referred as carcinoid tumors, but they are also found in the pancreas, lung and the rest of the body.

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Types of Neuroendocrine tumors
Neuroendocrine tumors are of various types. Some of them grow slowly and some grow fast. Some neuroendocrine tumors are functional tumors that produce excess hormones. Others are nonfunctional neuroendocrine tumors which don't release hormones. 

1. Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs): There are 2 types of NET, one which arise from gastrointestinal system and other from pancreas. They include Alimentary tract carcinoid tumors and pancreatic endocrine tumors.

2. Carcinoid tumors: Carcinoid tumors can arise in several places throughout the body and are slow-growing cancer. They generally begin in the organs of digestive tract such as, stomach, appendix, small intestine, colon, and rectum or in the lungs.

3. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: These are group of cancers that can happen in the hormone producing cells of the pancreas. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are very rare which are also referred as islet cell cancers.

Signs and Symptoms: 

General symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent pain in a specific area
  • Thickening or a lump in any part of the body
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge

Symptoms related to the release of excess hormones:

  • Diarrhea
  • Facial flushing, usually without sweating
  • Hyperglycemia (too much sugar in the blood)
  • Hypoglycemia (too little sugar in the blood)
  • Gastric ulcer disease
  • Skin rash
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety


Bellow factors can increase the risk of cancer: 

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 1 (MEN 1)
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 2 (MEN 2)
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Neurofibromatosis
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