Is sublobar resection sufficient for carcinoid tumors?

Ann Thorac Surg. 2011 Nov;92(5):1774-8; discussion 1778-9. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2010.08.080. Epub 2011 Jun 24.


Background: The existing guidelines for extent of resection of carcinoid tumors are based on other, more malignant non-small cell lung cancers. Because of the small number of patients in any single institution, we analyzed the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database to study the effect of the extent of resection of these tumors on overall survival.

Methods: All patients with lung cancer in the SEER database from 1973 to 2006 with carcinoid tumors as their only cancer were included. Variables examined included age, race (white, black, others), gender, histologic type (atypical versus typical carcinoid), stage (localized, regional, and distant), extent of resection (sublobar resection, lobectomy, or more extensive) and survival. Univariate analyses (Kaplan-Meier method) were used to select variables for multivariate analysis (Cox regression analysis). Associations were considered significant with an alpha error < 5%. In addition, propensity score-matched Cox regression analysis was performed for patients with typical carcinoid disease.

Results: Most patients with carcinoid tumors did not acquire any other cancers (4,785/6,819; 70.2%). Of these, 797 patients had sublobar resection and 2,681 patients had lobectomy or more extensive resections. On univariate analysis, gender (p = 0.014), race (p < 0.001), stage (p < 0.001), histologic type (p < 0.001) and extent of resection (p = 0.04) were associated with overall survival. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that age, gender, race, stage, and histologic type remain statistically associated with overall survival and disease-specific survival, whereas extent of resection is not. Propensity score-matched analysis demonstrates that for typical carcinoid, extent of resection is not associated with overall survival when adjusted for age, gender, race, and stage.

Conclusions: Sublobar resection of carcinoid tumors did not compromise oncologic outcomes in a large population-based database. Lobectomy for typical carcinoid tumors is not mandatory as long as complete resection and adequate mediastinal staging are performed.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoid Tumor / mortality
  • Carcinoid Tumor / surgery*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonectomy / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SEER Program
  • Survival Rate