Primary neuroendocrine carcinoma of inguinal lymph node

Horm Res. 2005;64(1):16-9. doi: 10.1159/000087191. Epub 2005 Jul 25.


Ninety-seven percent of neuroendocrine carcinomas are located in the gastrointestinal tract or in the bronchopulmonary tree. Inguinal lymph nodes as the primary tumor site for neuroendocrine carcinoma represent a very unusual location, and have only been described in 2 patient series in the literature. A 64-year-old, previously healthy, Caucasian female presented with a 2-month history of an enlarged inguinal lymph node on the right side. The removed lymph node showed histological and immunohistochemical characteristics of neuroendocrine differentiation (positive for synaptophysin, cytokeratin 20, neuron-specific enolase and chromogranin A). Although extensive investigations including repeated CT and NMR scans, classical endoscopy, wireless capsule endoscopy of the small intestine, octreotide- and MIBG scintigraphy were performed, no other primary tumor was found. Furthermore, there was no evidence of Merkel cell carcinoma on dermatological examinations. A possible explanation for the presence of neuroendocrine carcinomas within the lymph nodes is malignant transformation of preexisting intranodal epithelial nests, which have previously been described in lymph nodes located close to the salivary glands, thyroid gland, breast tissue and pancreas. Since the surgical removal of the affected lymph node, the patient has now been disease-free for 42 months. We therefore consider our case to represent a primary undifferentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma in an inguinal lymph node.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymph Nodes / surgery
  • Middle Aged