Alternate Therapies for Neuroendocrine Tumors of the GI Tract

Your Integrated Care Team may recommend one or more alternate therapies for your neuroendocrine tumors of the gastrointestinal tract if you are not a good candidate for traditional treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

In some cases, alternate therapies may be recommended as salvage therapies for patients whose cancer has returned.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Your physician may recommend a nonsurgical treatment for your carcinoid tumor. With this high-tech, leading-edge procedure, your interventional radiologist — using ultrasound and CT-scan equipment — will guide a small probe through your skin into your tumor.

Bipolar energy (similar to microwaves) is released through the probe into the tumor, causing the tumor cells to die. Your tumor is essentially cauterized. The tumor remains as a mass or scar of dead tissue.

Your surgeon may also use this technique at the time of surgery, combining surgical removal of parts of your tumor with ablation (RFA) of others.

RFA is an alternative to surgery and chemotherapy. In some cases, it’s used in conjunction with radiation.


In this procedure, your physician will insert a thin steel tube into your abdominal area. Through the tubing, your physician will direct liquid nitrogen onto the tumor site to freeze the tumor cells. The frozen, dead cells exit your body.

Cryosurgery is also known as cryotherapy.

Hormone Therapy

In some cases your physician may recommend hormone therapy to relieve symptoms caused by your islet cell tumor of the pancreas. In this treatment, you will receive either daily or monthly injections of hormones.



All of these alternate therapies have possible side effects. Your physician will discuss the risks with you.

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