NETs and Carcinoid Syndrome are rare and can be difficult to diagnose. Fortunately, there are tests that can help your healthcare team diagnose, treat, and monitor your condition. Your doctor will determine which option is best for you.
Presence of disease
Progress of disease
Effects of treatment
Blood, urine, or tissue samples are taken and checked for signs of disease. These signs are known as biomarkers.
Images of your body are taken and used to see what’s going on inside your body.
CgA is a protein found in the secretory granules of neuroendocrine cells.
Blood samples are measured for CgA.
Higher than normal levels of CgA may mean a NET is present in the body.
Ki-67 is a biomarker expressed by dividing tumor cells. The mitotic rate is used to measure the amount of cells being replicated.
Detecting and measuring tumor cells to monitor disease progression and develop treatment plans.
Tissue samples are tested for Ki-67.
A high percentage of Ki-67 or mitotic rate (20% or higher Ki-67 index) may mean the NET will grow and spread quickly.
Pancreastatin is a protein secreted by neuroendocrine cells.
Plasma (blood) samples are tested for pancreastatin.
Higher than normal levels of pancreastatin (135 pg/mL and above) may mean the NET will continue to grow and progress.
Neurokinin A is a molecule made up of amino acids secreted by midgut carcinoid tumors.
Predicting disease outcome (prognosis).
Blood samples are tested for neurokinin A.
The SRS is used to detect widespread tumors. There are receptors on the tumors that bind to drugs like somatostatin, which is injected with radioactive material and used in the scan.
A PET scan has a shorter wait time than SRS scans. PETs can detect tumors by finding areas of increased cell activity. They can detect metastasizing tumors better than primary NETs, due to their high activity level.
Locating midgut carcinoid primary and metastasized tumors and monitoring treatment response.
Gallium 68 is a part of the next generation of technology being used in PET scans. Unlike the conventional PET scan which uses sugar, this scan detects tumors using a molecule called Gallium 68.
Locating hard-to-find tumors.
Where NETs are located and may have spread inside your body.
When serotonin breaks down in the body, it becomes 5-HIAA.
Urine or plasma (blood) samples are measured for 5-HIAA. Foods with serotonin such as butternuts, black walnuts, pecans, pineapple, and bananas should be avoided for 24 hours before the test.
Higher than normal levels may mean Carcinoid Syndrome is worsening.
Serotonin is a hormone that helps control mood and digestion. When too much serotonin is produced by NETs, it can cause Carcinoid Syndrome.
Blood samples are measured for serotonin.
High levels may mean Carcinoid Syndrome is present.