Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the behaviour of atypical carcinoids operated at our Department in the period 1977-1998 and to review the last 19 cases according to Capella's classification (1994), indicating the most adequate surgical approach.
Methods: On the basis of anatomo-pathological characteristics, we have reviewed surgical treatment and outcome in 46 patients, submitted in the last 22 years to surgical resection for neuroendocrine neoplasms.
Results: 5-year survival is 77.2%; 10-year survival is 53.2%. Lymph node metastases are also important for survival, but less than the histotype. The review of our last six years' series, according to Capella's classification, of 19 patients affected by so-called atypical carcinoids revealed that: 5 were well differentiated neuroendocrine tumors (WDNT), 12 were well differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (WDNC), 2 were small cell neuroendocrine carcinomas (SCLC). The 5-year overall survival of our cases is 78%, for the WDNT 100%, for WDNC 81.2%. Of the 2 patients with SCLC, one survived 2 months; the other is still alive 5 months after surgery.
Conclusions: The authors conclude that 5-year and 10-year survival are strongly related to the histological type of neuroendocrine neoplasm and to the presence of lymph node metastases. Capella's anatomo-pathological classification helps to give a more accurate prognosis for survival in so-called "atypical carcinoids". If the neoplasm is malignant, the authors recommend radical resection, if possible.