Neuroendocrine carcinoma arising in soft tissue: three case reports and literature review

World J Surg Oncol. 2007 Jul 9:5:77. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-5-77.


Background: Neuroendocrine tumours (NET) are tumours arising from neuroendocrine cells of neural crest origin. They are characterised by the presence of neurosecretory granules which react positively to silver stains and to specific markers including neuron specific enolase, synaptophysin and chromogranin. Metastasis to the skin occurs infrequently but primary soft tissue NET is excessively rare.

Case presentation: We report our experience with 3 such cases. In the first case, the NET originated in muscle and was treated with wide surgical excision and adjuvant radiotherapy. The second case presented as a subcutaneous mass in the foot and the tumour was positive on 123I mIBG scan. She has had prolonged recurrence-free survival following primary hypo-fractionated radiotherapy. In the third case, a cutaneous nodule proved to be a NET and at surgery, lymph node disease was present. He has remained disease-free after surgical excision without the need for external beam radiotherapy.

Conclusion: These tumours appear to have a good prognosis. Complete excision offers potentially curative treatment. Adjuvant radiotherapy may be helpful when the tumour margin is narrow. For patients with unresectable disease or where surgery would not be appropriate, radiotherapy appears to be an effective therapeutic option.