Small cell undifferentiated (neuroendocrine) carcinoma of the uterine cervix

J Am Coll Surg. 2003 Jul;197(1):44-51. doi: 10.1016/S1072-7515(03)00120-0.


Background: Small cell undifferentiated (neuroendocrine) carcinoma of the cervix is a rare and agressive tumor. Most medical centers have little experience with this tumor. The purposes of our study were to evaluate our experience and compare our findings with those reported in current literature.

Study design: Fifteen patients with small cell undifferentiated carcinoma of the cervix were treated between 1977 and 1997. Clinical data including age, pregnancy history, tumor stage, recurrence, type of therapy, presenting symptoms, location of metastasis, and survival were studied.

Results: The ages of patients ranged from 20 to 83 years, with a mean of 47 years. Two patients were nulliparous, 2 primiparous, and 11 multiparous. Five patients (33%) were stage I, three (20%) stage II, one (7%) stage III, and six (40%) stage IV at diagnosis. Five patients (33%) progressed without response to treatment, and seven (47%) experienced a recurrence of their cancer, on average after 15 months. Treatments included surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of them. Extrapelvic metastases developed in five patients with stage I or stage II disease. Three patients (20%) developed brain metastasis. Tumor lysis syndrome was encountered in one patient. Thirteen patients died of their disease, one remained alive 80 months after diagnosis, and one was lost to followup.

Conclusions: Our experience with this rare and aggressive tumor raises the question of increased incidence of central nervous system metastases with small cell undifferentiated carcinoma. Present therapy has not significantly improved outcomes. Tumor lysis syndrome is a possible risk when treating these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Parity
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*