Pulmonary carcinoid tumours: Indolent but not benign

Sara De Dosso, Emilio Bajetta, Giuseppe Procopio, Diego Cortinovis, Roberto Buzzoni, Laura Catena, Marco Platania, Elena Verzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The aim of this retrospective study was to analyse the malignant behaviour of low-grade pulmonary neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) treated at our institution. Patients and Methods: We reviewed 48 consecutive patients with pulmonary NETs referred to our Medical Oncology Unit between 1998 and 2006, including 33 subjects with typical carcinoids (TCs) and 15 with atypical carcinoids (ACs). Results: At diagnosis, there were 37 metastatic and 11 non-metastatic patients. Medical treatments used were somatostatin analogues, combined chemotherapy, within study protocols, 5-fluorouracil/dacarbazine/ epiadriamycin (FDE), and oxaliplatin plus capecitabine (XELOX). Median disease-free survival was 72 months for the TC patients and 38 months for the AC patients. Actuarial 5-year survival was 93% for those with TCs and 73% for those with ACs. The mean overall survival was 68 months for the non-metastatic patients (78 months for TC patients and 58 months for AC patients) and 36 months for patients with advanced disease (42 and 32 months, respectively). Conclusion: Cell type is the strongest determinant of prognosis, and the degree of malignancy increases from TCs to ACs. Moreover, the prognosis of metastatic pulmonary carcinoids is not as good as expected. Our analysis suggests that patients with advanced disease should receive first-line therapy with a somatostatin analogue, with chemotherapy regimens (FDE, XELOX) used in progressing cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Lung carcinoids
  • Pulmonary neuroendocrine tumours
  • Somatostatin analogues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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