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“A neuroendocrine tumour is a particular kind of digestive cancer that requires very specific management.”

Dr Alain Hendlisz,
Coordinator of the Digestive Tumour CMO, Institut Bordet.

How we treat neuroendocrine tumours

Although often situated in an organ of the digestive tract, neuroendocrine tumours behave differently from other digestive cancers and must often be treated in a specific way.

At the very start of pregnancy, the embryo is a cluster of cells which, as they multiply, become progressively differentiated into a number of different organs. When all the organs are formed, traces of this process of differentiation remain. For example, neuroendocrine cells “originate” in the neural crest which will produce different types of cells, including the neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. However, 90% of neuroendocrine cells are found in the digestive tract. Like any other cell, they can mutate and become cancerous, producing neuroendocrine tumours.