Treatment of lung large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma

Tumour Biol. 2016 Jun;37(6):7047-57. doi: 10.1007/s13277-016-5003-4. Epub 2016 Mar 4.


Lung large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (L-LCNEC) is a rare, aggressive, and difficult-to-treat tumor. It is classified as a neuroendocrine subtype of large cell lung carcinoma (LCLC) belonging to the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) group, but it is also included in the neuroendocrine tumor (NET) group. Most of the available data related to its treatment derive from retrospective analyses or small case series. For patients with L-LCNEC, prognosis is generally very poor. In early stages (I-II-III), surgery is recommended but does not seem to be sufficient. Platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy may be useful while the role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy is still not well defined. In patients with advanced L-LCNEC, the chemotherapy regimens used in SCLC still remain the standard of treatment, but results are not satisfactory. Due to their peculiar clinical and biological features and the lack of literature data, there is an emerging need for a consensus on the best treatment strategy for L-LCNEC and for the identification of new therapeutic options. In this review, we will discuss the key aspects of L-LCNEC management with the aim to clarify the most controversial issues.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma; Lung neuroendocrine tumor; Treatment options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / drug therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prognosis