Endoscopic treatment of bronchial carcinoids in comparison to surgical resection: a retrospective study

J Bronchology Interv Pulmonol. 2012 Jan;19(1):29-34. doi: 10.1097/LBR.0b013e3182446b52.


Background: Surgery is the gold standard of lung carcinoid treatment. However, bronchoscopic treatment may provide a complete cure in selected patients. The aim of the study was to review the results of laser treatment of bronchial carcinoids and to compare the outcome after laser resection against the outcome after surgical resection.

Methods: Seventy-three patients, 29 men and 44 women, median age 53 years (range, 23 to 78 y), with bronchial carcinoids were treated by surgical resection (n=48) or endobronchial ablation (n=25). Bronchoscopic treatment was also performed in 5 of 48 surgical patients as a part of the surgical treatment strategy.

Results: Among 25 patients treated endoscopically, 16 were successfully treated with laser, whereas 9 were operated subsequently. One major complication was registered, as an inadvertent ventilation caused a nonfatal fire of the bronchoscope during Nd:YAG laser procedure. Forty-eight patients underwent surgical resection. Most of the patients underwent lobectomy and bilobectomy (30 and 5 patients, respectively). Four of the patients were dead by the end of the study, 1 was treated with laser, and 3 treated with surgical resection. The overall survival was 94.5% in the surgical group and 94.4% in the group treated with endoscopic ablation (P=0.9). None of the 69 survivors had any sign of recurrence on computed tomographic scans and bronchoscopy by the end of the study.

Conclusions: This is a retrospective study and no randomization has been performed. However, the results add evidence to the view that transbronchial laser treatment may be offered as a safe, stand-alone procedure in the treatment of typical carcinoid tumor in the central airways.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchoscopy / adverse effects
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Carcinoid Tumor / epidemiology
  • Carcinoid Tumor / surgery*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Thoracotomy
  • Young Adult