What Is Carcinoid Syndrome? A Critical Appraisal of Its Proposed Mediators: A critical appraisal of its proposed mediators

Merijn C F Mulders*, Wouter W de Herder, Johannes Hofland

*Corresponding author for this work

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Carcinoid syndrome (CS) is a debilitating disease that affects approximately 20% of patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN). Due to the increasing incidence and improved overall survival of patients with NEN over recent decades, patients are increasingly suffering from chronic and refractory CS symptoms. At present, symptom control is hampered by an incomplete understanding of the pathophysiology of this syndrome. This systematic review is the first to critically appraise the available evidence for the various hormonal mediators considered to play a causative role in CS. Overall, evidence for the putative mediators of CS was scarce and often of poor quality. Based on the available literature, data are only sufficient to agree on the role of serotonin as a mediator of CS-associated diarrhea and fibrosis. A direct role for tachykinins and an indirect role of catecholamines in the pathogenesis of CS is suggested by several studies. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to link histamine, bradykinin, kallikrein, prostaglandins, or motilin to CS. To summarize, available literature only sufficiently appoints serotonin and suggests a role for tachykinins and catecholamines as mediators of CS, with insufficient evidence for other putative mediators. Descriptions of CS should be revised to focus on these proven hormonal associations to be more accurate, and further research is needed into other potential mediators.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbnad035
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
JournalEndocrine Reviews
Issue number3
Early online date1 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society.


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