Neuroendocrine tumors of the lung

Curr Opin Oncol. 2008 Mar;20(2):148-54. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e3282f35ed3.


Purpose of review: The aim of this article is to answering different questions related to the treatment and prognosis of neuroendocrine lung tumors.

Recent findings: In neuroendocrine lung tumors, regardless of the grade of tumoral malignancy, the general growth during the past years of the nodal involvement percentage detected in lung neuroendocrine tumors might be explained by accepting surgical treatment as the norm and a complete mediastinal nodal dissection. Among non-small-cell carcinomas, large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma is the tumor with the worst prognosis. Nodal invasion clearly decreases the possibility of long-term survival in these patients, confirming the importance of preoperative and perioperative staging. A definitive survival advantage for postoperative adjuvant therapy has yet to be reported; tumoral genetics studies may contribute to specifying its indication. The importance of neuroendocrine differentiation in non-small-cell lung carcinomas for the treatment and prognosis of these tumors is a reason to intensify research.

Summary: In the surgical treatment of lung neuroendocrine carcinomas, nodal mediastinal dissection should always be performed. In the large neuroendocrine carcinoma, experience confirms the possibility of surgical treatment in early stages; in all cases, adjuvant treatment should always be established. The presence of synaptophysin in squamous carcinoma tumors and adenocarcinoma tumors in stage I seems to be associated with a worse prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / surgery*