Management of carcinoid tumors

Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Mar;89(3):998-1005. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2009.07.097.


Primary bronchopulmonary carcinoids comprise a significant proportion of carcinoid tumors. The clinical presentation allows prediction of the diagnosis and cell type and directs evaluation and treatment. Young age, central tumor, and no nodal enlargement are highly suggestive of typical carcinoid. These patients require no further diagnostic or staging tests beyond chest computed tomography and bronchoscopy before resection using parenchyma-sparing techniques. All bronchopulmonary carcinoids are malignant (though indolent), and surgical intervention is the mainstay of treatment. Mediastinoscopy is suggested when there is moderate suspicion of atypical carcinoid (central cN1 or peripheral cN0), with lobectomy and lymphadenectomy if the mediastinal nodes are benign. For a high suspicion of atypical carcinoid (central cN2, peripheral cN1, 2), imaging for distant metastases and mediastinoscopy is suggested, with multimodality treatment for an atypical carcinoid with N2 involvement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchial Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Bronchial Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Bronchial Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Carcinoid Tumor* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoid Tumor* / pathology
  • Carcinoid Tumor* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes