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A widely distributed and different cancer

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) arise from secretory cells found throughout the body, which makes them biologically and clinically diverse—and challenging for both researchers and practitioners.1

These are unique tumors, quite different from prostate or breast cancer, because these tumors may also secrete hormones that cause patients to feel ill. And that's unusual for most common cancers.

– Dr Larry Kvols

NETs are unlike other solid tumors in 2 important ways:

  • They arise from cells of the diffuse endocrine system rather than from cells specific to a certain organ or tissue1
  • Just as neuroendocrine cells produce hormones and bioactive substances that control critical body functions, NETs are capable of oversecreting these substances, which can result in a broad spectrum of symptoms and clinical syndromes. So optimal patient care may require the input of multiple specialists, such as endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, oncologists, pulmonologists, and radiologists1-3

Learn more about the specific characteristics of these three broadly defined types of NETs: