Small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the endometrium: a clinicopathologic study of six cases

Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Sep;53(3):355-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2013.05.006.


Objectives: Primary small cell carcinoma of the endometrium is a rare disease that can only be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and thus has a poor prognosis. In this study, the clinicopathologic characteristics of endometrial small cell carcinoma are described and the survival outcomes are discussed.

Materials and methods: The data from six patients from a single medical institution who were diagnosed with endometrial small cell carcinoma in the past 20 years were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: The median age of the six patients was 60 years. Vaginal bleeding was the most common symptom. All six patients underwent complete staging surgery, including hysterectomy, bilateral salpingoophorectomy, and systematic lymphadenectomy. Three of the patients were diagnosed with early stage disease, [International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage I or II], and the other three were in an advanced stage (FIGO stage III). Pathologically, deep myometrial invasion was observed in five (83.3%) of the patients, and lymphovascular invasion in six. As adjuvant therapy, four (66.7%) patients received platinum-based chemotherapy and one (16.7%) underwent concurrent chemoradiotherapy. During the median follow-up period of 16.2 months, recurrence developed in four patients (66.7%). There were disseminated recurrences on the peritoneum and lymph nodes in two cases, and distant metastasis to the brain in the other two cases. The median time to recurrence was 7.5 months (range, 315 months). One patient died of disease.

Conclusion: Small cell carcinoma of the endometrium shows an aggressive clinical behavior, such as a disseminated disease and distant metastasis within a short time to recurrence. Initial active management with complete surgical resection and systemic chemotherapy might improve outcomes, although further large studies should be done to confirm this.

Keywords: endometrial cancer; small cell carcinoma; survival outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / therapy
  • Chemoradiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Middle Aged
  • Myometrium / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Ovariectomy
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salpingectomy