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Minerva Chirurgica 2000 January-February;55(1-2):77-88


language: Italian

Carcinoid tumor of the appendix. A clinical case

Spallitta S. I., Termine G., Stella M., Calistro V., Marozzi P.


A case of a young male operated on for acute appendicitis due to a carcinoid of the base is reported. Since the tumor was infiltrating the resection margin of the appendix, the patient was later treated with a right hemicolectomy. Carcinoid tumor is unusual, but can be encountered several times during the career of a surgeon (1/200-300 appendicectomy). The tumor is more frequent in women (2-4:1), located at the tip of the appendix (62-78%) and has a diameter less than 1 cm in 70-95% of cases. It is more frequently diagnosed incidentally after an operation for acute appendicitis and occasionally during other procedures (colectomy, cholecystectomy, salpingectomy). Liver metastases are rare (<2%), related to the dimension of the primitive tumor (21-100% when >2 cm) and can cause a ''carcinoid syndrome'': flush, diarrhea bronchoconstriction, cardiac valve disease. Diagnosis is made by the pathologist and stadiation by conventional radiologic procedures (TAC, US), dosage of neuroendocrine mediators such as 24 hours urinary 5-HIAA. Nowadays 111In-octreotide scintigraphy (SRS) has an 86% sensitivity to detect the carcinoid and is useful for stadiation and for planning a surgical intervention. Simple appendectomy is adequate treatment for appendiceal carcinoids less than 1 cm in diameter. Adequate treatment for tumors greater than 2 cm is right hemicolectomy. A point of controversy is what to do for tumors in the 1 to 2 cm range. It seems that appendectomy alone is sufficient except in those cases when mesoappendiceal invasion is identified. When surgical margins after appendectomy are not free of tumor, additional surgery seems warranted. Carcinoid tumor of the appendix has a good prognosis with a 5-year-survival rate, of 85.9-100%. When liver metastases are encountered octreotide can releave symptoms and sometimes the progression of the disease.

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