Objectives: The purpose of this study is to review our experience with the spectrum of neuroendocrine neoplasms of the lung with emphasis on the histopathologic classification and surgical therapy of each class of neoplasm.
Design: This retrospective review covers the entire spectrum of neuroendocrine neoplasms of the lung over an 11-year period (January 1985 to December 1995) in a university hospital setting. Only patients who underwent surgical resection were included in this review.
Patients: During this period, a total of 77 patients underwent lung resection for the following neuroendocrine neoplasms: typical carcinoid (TC), 50 patients; atypical carcinoid (AC), 5 patients; large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC), 9 patients; mixed large-small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LSNEC), 4 patients; or small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (SCC), 9 patients. There were 37 men (48.1%) and 40 women (51.9%) among the patients, with a mean age of 57.9 years (range, 14 to 87 years).
Interventions: Primary surgical resection consisted of the following procedures: 52 lobectomies (67.5%); 10 pneumonectomies (13%); 13 limited resections (16.9%); 1 left main bronchus sleeve resection; and 1 carinal resection. Six patients had the following concomitant procedures: pericardiectomy, 2 patients; mediastinoscopy, 1 patient; chest wall resection, 1 patient; stapling blebs, 1 patient; and transdiaphragmatic liver biopsy, 1 patient. Four patients underwent bilobectomies, and two patients underwent multiple wedge resections.
Results: The hospital mortality rate was 2.6% (2 of 77 patients), and both patients died of pulmonary failure. Follow-up was obtained in 62 of 77 patients (80.9%) for an average of 38.1 months (range, 2 to 132 months). There were a total of 13 deaths, and 8 were disease-related (LCNEC, 4 deaths; SCC, 2 deaths; LSNEC, 1 death; and AC tumor, 1 death. The mean disease-free intervals for patients with these neoplasms were the following: TC tumor, 41.3 months; AC tumor, 20 months; LCNEC, 20.4 months; LSNEC, 25 months; and SCC, 48 months. The overall 3-year survival rate was 45.2% (28 of 62 patients).
Conclusion: This report will emphasize the classification, surgical management, and treatment considerations of pulmonary neuroendocrine neoplasms. Despite the poor overall prognosis in high-grade neuroendocrine tumors of the lung, surgery remains a viable adjunct in the early stages of this disease.