Neuroendocrine tumors are usually slow-growing tumors. Many of these are capable of secreting peptide hormones or biogenic amines that may lead to endocrine syndromes. Nonfunctioning tumors can either secrete no hormones at all, or secrete hormones not giving rise to endocrine symptoms, such as chromogranin A, chromogranin B or pancreatic polypeptide. Chromogranin A is produced by the majority of endocrine tumors, both functioning and nonfunctioning, and is the best available marker for diagnosis, follow-up and treatment monitoring of patients with differentiated neuroendocrine tumors. Examples of endocrine syndromes are classical carcinoid syndrome caused by serotonin (measured in the urine as its metabolite 5-HIAA), insulinoma syndrome caused by insulin or proinsulin, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome resulting from gastrin secretion, glucagonoma syndrome caused by glucagon, WDHA syndrome caused by vasoactive intestinal peptide, or Cushing's syndrome resulting from ectopic production of adrenocorticotropic hormone or corticotropin-releasing hormone. In case there is uncertainty about the diagnosis, specific tests can be applied, such as the secretin test for diagnosis of gastrinomas and the 72-hour fast for diagnosis of an insulinoma. In patients with suspicion of an inherited syndrome, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) 1 and MEN2 syndromes, genetic testing is indicated.
Krager , 2015. 24-39 p.