Author(s): Veronesi G
OBJECTIVE: Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung are considered aggressive. However, reported prognoses are heterogeneous and the optimum treatment remains undefined. We retrospectively evaluated outcomes in a series of patients with a pathological diagnosis of large cell neuroendocrine lung carcinoma, who underwent lung resection. We also assessed the utility of chemotherapy in a small subgroup.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: The clinical records of 144 consecutive patients were reviewed in a multicenter study. Survival times, assessed from the day of surgery until death or most recent follow-up, were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method, and compared by the log rank test.
RESULTS: There were 117 men and 27 women of median age 63 years. Twelve wedge resections, 3 segmentectomies, 95 lobectomies, 7 bilobectomies and 24 pneumonectomies were performed. Induction chemotherapy was given in 21 and postoperative chemotherapy in 24. Pathologically, 73 (50%) were stage I, 29 (20%) stage II, 40 (28%) stage III and 2 stage IV. Postoperative mortality was 2.8% and morbidity 26%. Overall 5-year survival was 42.5%: 52% for stage I, 59% for stage II and 20% for stage III (p=0.001 log-rank test on Kaplan-Meier curves). A trend to better outcome was associated with preoperative or postoperative chemotherapy in stage I disease (p=0.077) compared to no chemotherapy. The response rate to induction chemotherapy was 80% in the 15 patients with data available.
CONCLUSION: large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung are confirmed as aggressive but are also chemosensitive. Our experience suggests that chemotherapy may improve prognosis in stage I disease.