Carcinoid syndrome (CS) is a debilitating disease caused by functional neuroendocrine tumors. Several treatment options are available to alleviate the hormonal symptoms, but their relative efficacy is unknown. Online databases were searched for publications on the treatment of CS symptoms. Independent reviewers assessed relevant publications for study quality and outcome. Meta-analysis of the outcomes of the intervention on CS-related symptoms was stratified by the type of treatment. We found 3682 therapeutic interventions on CS-specific outcomes were collected from 93 studies. Overall, the study qualities were poor with only six randomized controlled clinical trials. The somatostatin analogs octreotide and lanreotide induced symptomatic improvement in 65–72% and biochemical response in 45–46% of patients. An increase in dose or frequency or interclass switch led to a reduction of flushes and/or diarrhea in 72–84% of cases. Retrospective, institutional series showed that liver-directed therapy can improve symptoms in 82% of CS patients with a liver-dominant disease. The serotonin synthesis inhibitor telotristat ethyl reduced bowel movements in 40% of patients with diarrhea refractory to somatostatin analogs. Interferon-alpha controlled CS symptoms in 45–63% of cases. Favorable response has been noted after radionuclide therapy in subgroup analyses of studies not specifically involving CS patients. Chemotherapy and everolimus did not induce a significant response in the CS. We conclude that several treatment lines can be offered to patients suffering from the carcinoid syndrome. Initiation of randomized controlled trials with a primary outcome on carcinoid syndrome symptoms is strongly recommended.

Additional Metadata
Keywords carcinoid syndrome, somatostatin analogs, diarrhea, flushes, 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1530/erc-18-0495, hdl.handle.net/1765/114897
Journal Endocrine - Related Cancer
Citation
Hofland, J, Herrera-Martínez, A.D, Zandee, W.T, & de Herder, W.W. (2019). Management of carcinoid syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Endocrine - Related Cancer, 26(3), R145–R156. doi:10.1530/erc-18-0495