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Gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumors are a type of neuroendocrine tumor that occur throughout the organs of the digestive system. About 4% of GI carcinoid tumors develop in the stomach and are also called gastric carcinoid tumors or gastric carcinoids.

Types of gastric (stomach) carcinoid tumors

There are three different types of gastric carcinoids, which are determined by the level of two substances: stomach acid and a hormone called gastrin.

Type 1

Patients with this type of carcinoid tumor have low levels of stomach acid but high levels of gastrin. There may be multiple tumors, but their size is usually small and they don’t typically spread or grow into deeper layers of the stomach.

Type 2

Type 2 stomach carcinoid tumors yield high levels of both stomach acid and gastrin. Similar to type 1, these tumors are usually small and there may be multiple tumors at once. These tumors also rarely spread or grow into deeper layers of the stomach.

Type 3

Patients with this type of gastric carcinoid tumor have normal levels of stomach acid and gastrin. Typically with type 3, there is only one tumor, and it may grow into deeper layers of the stomach or spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes.

Treatment for carcinoid tumors of the stomach

Small gastric carcinoids can be surgically removed by endoscopy. However, type 1 and type 2 gastric carcinoid tumors that are small can sometimes be monitored closely without treatment and removed only if they begin to grow. Medications are also sometimes used for small type 2 tumors to lower levels of both gastrin and stomach acid.

Larger tumors may need to be removed along with some surrounding tissue through a traditional surgical incision as opposed to endoscopy. Type 3 tumors can still be removed endoscopically if they are small enough in size, but sometimes a more extensive surgery (such as a partial gastrectomy) may be necessary. Some patients’ treatment plans may include other therapies, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy or molecularly targeted therapy.

To learn more about GI carcinoid tumors of the stomach, or to talk to an oncologist specializing in this type of cancer, contact Moffitt. No referrals are required to visit. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.