Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NEN) – genetic related syndromes

Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NEN) – genetic related syndromes

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
Definitions - the differences between Hereditary vs Familial vs Genetic DisordersI wanted to start with these definitions because people may unintentionally use these three terms interchangeably which is sometimes not the correct use of the information being conveyed. However, after studying this subject, I can tell you it is a very complex area and difficult to explain and then understand in a single paragraph.  Even these widely accepted definitions don't make it any more understandable!  The terms ‘hereditary’ and ‘familial’ look like synonyms and are frequently used interchangeably but are two different concepts. ‘Hereditary’ is most commonly used when referring to diseases with a known genetic cause whereas ’Familial’ disorders are those which appear to have a genetic component, affecting more family members than would be expected by chance alone. However,…
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Genome methylation accurately predicts neuroendocrine tumor origin – finding Neuroendocrine Neoplasms of unknown primary

Genome methylation accurately predicts neuroendocrine tumor origin – finding Neuroendocrine Neoplasms of unknown primary

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy
It's estimated that around 5-10% of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) have an unknown primary - what that means is cancer cells have been found in the body but the place cancer began remains unknown.  I wrote about this issue in more depth in my article "Needle in a haystack" - you can read that here.  In that article, you will note that NET specialists through their knowledge and understanding of the behaviour of these comped tumours, can often drill down and gather various pieces of evidence to help narrow down the primary location. However, this new study would indicate they could have access to a new tool to be able to home in on a particular location.DNA methylation-based profiling is now routinely used in the diagnostic workup of brain tumors but…
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Neuroendocrine Tumours: a spotlight on Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma

Neuroendocrine Tumours: a spotlight on Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma

Awareness, Patient Advocacy
I spend a lot of time talking about the most common forms of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs), but what about the less well-known types?  As part of my commitment to all types of NETs, I'd like to shine a light on two less common tumour types known as Pheochromocytomas and Paragangliomas - with an incidence rate of approximately 8 per million per year. They are normally grouped together, and the definitions below will confirm why.  If you think it's difficult to diagnose a mainstream NET, this particular sub-type is a real challenge.So, let's get definitions out of the way:Pheochromocytomas (Pheo for short)Pheochromocytomas are tumours of the adrenal gland that produce excess adrenaline. They arise from the central portion of the adrenal gland, which is called the adrenal medulla (the remainder of…
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The Syndromes of Neuroendocrine Cancer – Early Signs of a Late Diagnosis

The Syndromes of Neuroendocrine Cancer – Early Signs of a Late Diagnosis

Awareness
One of the curious things about Neuroendocrine Cancer (NETs elsewhere in the text) is that it can very often exhibit one or more vague symptoms collectively known as a 'syndrome'.  Syndrome is an apt word to describe these complications as the most general meaning in medical terms is a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder or disease".  Having a syndrome can often be the difference between having a 'functional' condition or a non-functional' condition - see more below.This frequently makes Neuroendocrine Cancer very difficult to diagnose quickly.  It's a very devious disease.It's NOT all about Carcinoid Syndrome!Most people think of Carcinoid Syndrome when they discuss NETs. Anyone suggesting that all NET patients get carcinoid syndrome or that all symptoms of NETs are caused by carcinoid…
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