Poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (PDECs) represent highly malignant tumors with an immense tendency to metastasize and with a poor prognosis. The treatment consists of palliative chemotherapy and corresponds to the treatment of extensive stage small cell lung cancer.
Material and methods: We present the patient characteristics and treatment results of 31 consecutive, chemonaïve patients with PDECs treated with carboplatin, etoposide, and vincristine.
Results: The response rate was 52%, the disease control rate 77%, and the median overall survival 15.3 months. The one-year survival rate was 55%, and the two-year survival rate was 19%. The median progression free survival (PFS) time was 6.6 months. Survival rates did not correlate with the Ki-67 proliferation index. The treatment was well tolerated.
Conclusion: Treatment results with carboplatin, etoposide, and vincristine in chemonaïve patients with PDECs are comparable to those in patients with SCLC. The prognosis is however poor.