Our Treatment Approach to Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
City of Hope has one of the most renowned gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor programs in the United States, with a multidisciplinary team of medical experts across different fields including surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology and supportive care medicine. Together, they work collaboratively to plan and implement a treatment regimen that is individually tailored to the patient to improve survival chances, enhance outcomes and boost quality of life.


Surgery is often the primary treatment for carcinoid tumors, and it can be curative for early stage patients and can also greatly improve survival outcomes and reduce discomfort for later stage patients.
City of Hope’s surgeons specialize in minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgical procedures to treat gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors. By using smaller incisions compared to an open procedure, patients experience less pain, recover faster, have shorter hospital stays and are less likely to have post-surgical complications.
The expertise of City of Hope’s surgeons also means that they can treat and remove tumors that are considered inoperable elsewhere. This is done through advanced procedures that can navigate around sensitive areas (such as major blood vessels) and working with radiation and medical oncologists, who may be able to shrink the tumor to down to an operable size and shape with radiation and drug therapies.
Surgery may also be performed to alleviate symptoms associated with gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors, such as digestive tract obstruction or symptoms linked to the tumor’s hormone release.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies to treat gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors by killing cancerous cells or preventing the tumor growing larger. It is applied externally using one or more radioactive beams focused on the tumor.
Radiation therapy can also improve quality of life by relieving symptoms and stopping bleeds.
In addition to standard radiation regimens, City of Hope also offers Helical TomoTherapy, an advance technology combining radiation delivery with advanced imaging. This allows the radiation beams to be “sculpted” to the tumor’s size and shape, resulting in more focused radiation on the cancer site while minimizing exposure to adjacent tissues and organs.

Drug Therapy

City of Hope uses a wide range of chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs to treat localized, regional and metastatic gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors. In addition to standard drug regimens, patients have access to newly developed drugs (or drug combinations) through our clinical trials program.
Cancer fighting drugs can also enhance the effectiveness of surgery or radiation therapy, by shrinking the tumor before the procedure and making it easier to remove (neoadjuvant therapy), or given after the procedure to minimize the chance of recurrence (adjuvant therapy.)
Chemotherapy may also be given alongside radiation therapy to enhance the cancer-fighting effectiveness of both (chemoradiation.)
As part of the treatment team, a medical oncologist will evaluate the patient’s cancer, health and other factors, so that the chemotherapy, if appropriate, can be tailored to the patient throughout the continuum of care.

Become a Patient

If you have been diagnosed with gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about becoming a patient by calling 800-826-HOPE or filling out the Request a New Patient Appointment Online form.