Chemotherapy is often used for treating gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors. Chemotherapy is typically given as a pill or an infusion into the bloodstream. These powerful medicines work by destroying cells that are growing at an unusually rapid rate. This can help shrink gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors or slow down the rate at which they are growing. Sometimes, chemotherapy can also be given to help delay the onset of symptoms in patients whose cancers have spread to distant organs.
Patients with gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors typically have the best response to chemo when they are given two or more chemotherapy drugs (rather than just a single medication.) This is especially true for patients who have high-grade gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors. Some patients also respond more favorably to chemotherapy when the medications are accompanied by additional drugs known as somatostatin analogs, which can help manage the hormones released by carcinoid tumors.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our expert oncologists design individualized plans for every patient who elects to receive chemotherapy. We assess a complete range of personalized factors to determine the best medications and dosage options, then create a schedule that gives a patient’s body adequate time to recover in between chemotherapy cycles. And, should our oncologists recommend additional treatments, such as surgery or immunotherapy, all of these options are available in a single location. Our tumor board assembles each week to assess each patient’s response to treatment and make any necessary adjustments to help improve the patient’s quality of life.