Objective: The experiences on the treatment of seven consecutive patients with large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) were studied, observed over 6 years from 1992. Since LCNEC was recognized as a separate histological entity, only very few series have been reported. Together with the carcinoids (atypical and typical) and the small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), it forms the spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors.
Methods: Between 1992 and 1997, seven patients who underwent surgical resection were diagnosed as LCNEC postoperatively. Mean age was 65 years (range 54-77 years), five patients were male, all patients were heavy smokers. One patient was staged as IA, four as IB, one as IIIB and one as IV.
Results: In five patients, preoperative diagnosis was unknown, in one squamous cell carcinoma and in one adenocarcinoma was suspected. There were four lobectomies, two bilobectomies and one resection of the lingular division with a wedge resection of the upper division of the left upper lobe. Three patients received adjuvant chemotherapy and one, adjuvant radiotherapy. Survival ranged from 7 to 39 months. There are no patients currently alive.
Conclusions: LCNEC is a high-grade neuroendocrine tumor with a poor prognosis. In our patients, after surgical resection or multimodality treatment, all have developed widespread metastatic disease with a rapidly fatal course. Due to the rarity of this tumor, the incidence, prognosis and optimal treatment remain to be determined.