Argentaffinoma (Carcinoid Tumor)
An argentaffinoma is a tumor which secretes large amounts of the hormone serotonin. Argentaffinoma is also called carcinoid tumor. The tumor usually arises in the gastrointestinal tract, anywhere between the stomach and the rectum (often the appendix) and from there may metastasize to the liver. In the liver the tumor produces and releases large quantities of serotonin into the blood. The consequences are called the carcinoid syndrome. It is directly due to the effects of serotonin and includes flushing and blushing, swelling of the face (especially around the eyes), flat angiomas (little collections of dilated blood vessels) on the skin, diarrhea, bronchial spasm, rapid pulse, low blood pressure and narrowing of the valves of the heart, often with regurgitation (backflow of blood). One or more of four kinds of treatment are used for carcinoid tumors: surgery (to take out the cancer); radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays to kill the cancer cells); biological therapy (using the body’s natural immune system to fight the cancer); and chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells).