Cancers can be caused by DNA mutations (changes) that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes. This leads to cells growing out of control. Changes in many different genes are usually needed to cause carcinoid tumors.
For more about how genes changes can lead to cancer, see Genes and Cancer.
Some DNA mutations can be passed on in families and are found in a person's cells. These are inherited (or familial) mutations. A small portion of carcinoid tumors are caused by inherited gene mutations.
Changes in 4 tumor suppressor genes are responsible for many inherited cases of carcinoid tumors.
Most carcinoid tumors are caused by sporadic changes (mutations) in oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. Mutations are called sporadic if they occur after a person is born, rather than having been inherited.
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Last Revised: September 24, 2018