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Carcinoid lung tumors: long-term results from 111 resections

Keywords: bronchial carcinoid , neuroendocrine tumors , resection , histological classification

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Objective: Carcinoids are rare neuroendocrine tumors of the bronchial system. Only recently, the histological classification was standardized, and there are varying opinions about the extent of surgical resection. This research reports on the long-term results of 111 consecutive patients, who underwent surgery in a department for thoracic surgery.Methods: Between 1/1988 and 2/2001, 111 consecutive pulmonary resections were conducted in patients with bronchial carcinoids. Retrospectively, researchers obtained clinical and surgical data and re-classified all histological specimen according to the WHO classification of 1999. Information regarding long-term results was obtained by using data obtained during follow-up visits and by talking to the patient on the phone.Results: 97 patients with typical and 14 with atypical carcinoids were identified. The preoperative diagnosis of typical or atypical carcinoid had been correct in 56 patients (50.5%). Surgical procedures included 79 lobectomies, 16 bilobectomies, 8 pneumonectomies, 5 segmental resections, 2 sleeve resections of the main bronchus without parenchymal resection and one exploratory thoracotomy. Mediastinal lymphadenectomies were performed on 105 patients (94.6%). Postoperative staging revealed 91 patients (81.2%) in UICC stage I, 12 (10.8%) in stage II, 7 in stage III and one in stage IV. 97 (87.4%) typical and 14 (12.6%) atypical carcinoids were classified. 30-day mortality was 1.8% (n=2). Mean follow-up was 73.4 months. The total cohort showed a 5-year survival rate of 94% and a 10-year survival rate of 82%. In patients with typical and atypical carcinoids, the 5-year survival rates were 94% and 82%, respectively (n.s.), and the 10-year survival rates were 92% and 62%, respectively (p<0.01). The 5- (10-) year survival rate without lymph node involvement was 96% (85%), with N1 involvement 88% (65%), with N2 involvement 67% (no 10-year survival).Conclusions: Patients with bronchial carcinoids who underwent a radical oncological resection with mediastinal lymphadenectomy have very good survival chances. There are no prospective randomized studies evaluating the surgical procedures as they relate to the classification. Since a preoperative diagnosis cannot clearly determine if the lymph nodes are involved and what histology type the physician dealing with, a limited resections without lymphadenectomy is insufficient. It is absolutely necessary to conduct retrospective and multi-center studies on the prognostic importance of lymph node involvement and on the impact of adjuvant therapies.


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