Neuroendocrine Tumors and Tumor Syndromes in Childhood

José Gaal, Ronald de Krijger

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Endocrine and neuroendocrine cells form a large and diverse array of cell types. They are present in the form of specialized organs, such as the pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid, and adrenal gland, or in the form of the diffuse neuroendocrine system in the respiratory and digestive tracts. Neuroendocrine tumors are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, yet they present certain unifying features. These include frequent hormonal overproduction that leads to specific symptoms and a typical immunohistochemical staining profile with chromogranin A and synaptophysin reactivity. Over the past decades, many neuroendocrine tumors have been described in the context of heritable tumor syndromes, and there exist several syndromes that are almost entirely composed of neuroendocrine tumors. Tumors occurring as part of these hereditary syndromes are characterized by specific genetic abnormalities that have helped our understanding of tumorigenesis, and they frequently appear at a young age. It is therefore important for the pediatric pathologist to be aware of specific histologic characteristics of neuroendocrine tumors in childhood and of their association with specific tumor syndromes. This may alert other clinicians to the possibility of multiple tumors in the patient or his family members. This review focuses on hereditary syndromes with neuroendocrine tumors, including multiple endocrine neoplasia types 1 and 2, Von Hippel-Lindau disease, neurofibromatosis type 1, Carney complex, pheochromocytoma-paraganglioma syndrome, and familial nonmedullary thyroid carcinoma. In addition, several individual neuroendocrine tumors are described, such as medullary thyroid carcinoma, gastroenteropancreatic tumors, pheochromocytoma, and paraganglioma, emphasizing specific histopathologic characteristics.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)427-441
Number of pages15
JournalPediatric and Developmental Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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  • EMC MM-03-24-01

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