The pathology of the gastrointestinal endocrine system

E. Solcia, R. Fiocca, G. Rindi, L. Villani, M. Cornaggia, C. Capella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among endocrine tumors occurring in the gastrointestinal tract, midgut argentaffin EC cell carcinoids, gastric argyrophil ECL cell carcinoids, duodenal gastrin cell tumors, and rectal trabecular L cell carcinoids (in order of decreasing frequency) are those occurring more frequently. Together, they account for more than 80% of such tumors. Duodenal somatostatin cell tumors, gangliocytic paragangliomas, and differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas are also well-defined tumor entities. The carcinoid syndrome, either classical, with intermittent flushing, hypotension, and diarrhea, or atypical, with persistent histamine-type red flushing, bronchospasm, and no diarrhea, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, with severe peptic ulcer disease, are the only hyperfunctional syndromes consistently found in association with these tumors. The carcinoid syndrome occurs in about 10% of gastrointestinal carcinoids, usually in their advanced, metastatic stage. The Zollinger- Ellison syndrome occurs in association with about 40% of intestinal gastrin cell tumors, including small intramural growths. Tumor prognosis depends on the mode and site of presentation, histology, cell type(s), size, level of invasion, metastases (especially distant metastases), and associated clinical syndrome or background disease. Hormones, trophic factors, inherited genetic traits, somatic mutations, and some chronic inflammatory processes are pathogenetically important in a large proportion of cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-821
Number of pages27
JournalEndocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology


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