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26 Apr 2018 at 12:00AM

History of Carcinoid Tumour diagnosis

At a recent NET support group meeting a question was asked about when NETs were first diagnosed? Upon researching this question it has been reported that the histology (which is defined as the study of the form of structures seen under the microscope) was first seen by Theodor Langhans. Langhans was the first to describe the histology of the carcinoid tumour in 1868; however Otto Lubarsch has been credited with the first report of two patients with ileal carcinoid tumours which were discovered at autopsy in 1888. A German pathologist Siegfried Obendorfer at the University of Munich, in 1907 created the term “karzinoide” or “carcinoma-like” because their slow growth was considered to be "cancer-like" rather than truly cancerous, however under the microscope it did resemble carcinoma. Recognition of the endocrine-related properties of carcinoid tumours did not happen till much later. Rapport and colleagues in 1948 isolated and named serotonin which was initially identified as a vasoconstrictor substance in the serum. Enterochromaffin cells, which give rise to carcinoid tumors, were identified in 1897 by Nikolai Kulchitsky and their secretion of serotonin was established in 1953 when the "flushing" effect of serotonin had become clinically recognized by Lembeck and confirmed it as the major hormone responsible for carcinoid syndrome. Carcinoid heart disease was identified in 1952, and carcinoid fibrosis in 1961.

NET tumours were initially assessed as carcinoid and these tumours still raise many issues regarding classification, prognosis and choice of the best therapeutic approach. The incidence and prevalence of NET seems to have increased in recent years, most likely due to an improvement in diagnostic techniques, continued research and clinician awareness.

Category: General