What are Neuroendocrine tumors and their Symptoms?

March 21st, 2018
What are Neuroendocrine tumors and their Symptoms?

The formation of tumor in the endocrine cells of the body is known as the endocrine tumor and when the cells affected are also nerve cells then the disorder developed is known as the neuroendocrine tumor (NET).  The seriousness of the disorder depends upon the stage of its development and the organs to which this tumor has spread. Usually, this disease shows no symptom when it grows slowly but when this tumor grows fast or releases the hormones the person infected can recognize some symptoms.

Recently the Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan has been diagnosed with the neuroendocrine tumor. Though his tweet he tried to clear the misconception of people that neuroendocrine tumor is concerned with some brain disease and urged everybody to gather the correct information about this disease.

In this article, we have made an attempt to provide the complete information about the neuroendocrine tumor.


NET can be of multiple types depending upon the body organ in which it is developed. Following are the types of this disease-

  • Pheochromocytoma – It is the rarest tumor that develops in the chromaffin cells of the adrenal gland. These cells are dedicated to releasing the hormone adrenaline during times of stress. Due to this condition, the production of hormone adrenaline is increased drastically resulting in high blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Merkel cell cancer- This cancer is also known as the carcinoma of the skin or trabecular cancer. It is a rare and the fast-growing type of cancer that begins in the cells just under the skin and in the hair follicles.
  • Neuroendocrine carcinoma-This is the most common type of NET. Neuroendocrine carcinoma can start in a number of places in the body, including the lungs, brain, and gastrointestinal tract.


In the initial stage, there are not too many symptoms of NET however they may produce symptoms caused by the tumor's growth.  The signs and symptoms of this disease depend upon their type, location and the factor that weather NET is functional or nonfunctional.

Some of the common symptoms of NETs are as follows:

  • Redness in the face or neck without sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat/palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Pain in abdominal and cramping
  • Unreasonable weight gain or loss
  • Unexplained coughing
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles
  • Problems in the skin like lesions, discolored patches of skin, thin skin
  • Frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger
  • Feeling of shakiness, dizziness, sweating, fainting

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