Background: Goblet cell carcinoid (GCC) of the appendix is a rare neoplasm that share histological features of both adenocarcinoma and carcinoid tumor. While its malignant potential remains unclear, GCC's are more aggressive than conventional carcinoid. The clinical presentations of this neoplasm are also varied. This review summarizes the published literature on GCC of the appendix. The focus is on its diagnosis, histopathological aspects, clinical manifestations, and management.
Methods: Published studies in the English language between 1966 to 2004 were identified through Medline keyword search utilizing terms "goblet cell carcinoid," "adenocarcinoid", "mucinous carcinoid" and "crypt cell carcinoma" of the appendix.
Results: Based on the review of 57 published papers encompassing nearly 600 diagnosed patients, the mean age of presentation for GCC of the appendix was 58.89 years with equal representation in both males and females. Accurate diagnosis of this neoplasm requires astute observations within an acutely inflamed appendix as this neoplasm has a prominent pattern of submucosal growth and usually lacks the formation of a well-defined tumor mass. The mesoappendix was involved in 21.64% followed by perineural involvement in 2.06%. The most common clinical presentations in order of frequency were acute appendicitis in 22.5%; asymptomatic in 5.4%; non-localized abdominal pain in 5.15% and an appendicular mass in 3.09%. The most common surgical treatment of choice was appendectomy with right hemicolectomy in 34.70% followed by simple appendectomy in 24.57%. Concomitant distant metastasis at diagnosis was present in 11.16% of patients with the ovaries being the most common site in 3.60% followed by disseminated abdominal carcinomatosis in 1.03%. Local lymph node involvement was seen in 8.76% of patients at the time of diagnosis. The reported 5-year survival ranges from 60 % to 84%. GCC's of the appendix remains a neoplasm of unpredictable biological behavior and thus warrants lifelong surveillance for recurrence of the disease upon diagnosis and successful surgical extirpation.
Conclusion: GCC of the appendix is a rare neoplasm. Due to its wide range of presentation, this tumor should be considered as a possible diagnosis in many varied situations leading to abdominal surgery. Histopathological features such as increased number of Paneth cells, increased amount of mucin secretion and presence of pancreatic polypeptide may predict a more aggressive behavior. The advocated plan of management recommended for patients with tumors that involve the adjacent caecum or with high-grade tumors with histological features such as an increased mitotic rate involve initial appendectomy with completion right hemicolectomy due to the high possibility of local recurrence with intraperitoneal seeding prior to lymph node involvement and a 20% risk of metastatic behavior. In female patients with GCC of the appendix regardless of age, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is advocated. In cases with obvious spread of the disease chemotherapy, mostly with 5-FU and leucovorin is advised. Cytoreductive surgery with adjuvant intraperitoneal chemotherapy can offer improved survival in cases with advanced peritoneal dissemination.