Pulmonary Neuroendocrine Tumors: Part I. Spectrum and Characteristics of Tumors

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Pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors arise from Kulchitzky cells of the bronchial mucosa and include typical carcinoid, atypical carcinoid, large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, and small cell lung cancer. These tumors have a variable growth rate that determines their presentation and prognosis. Typical carcinoid has the lowest growth rate and better prognosis; in contrast, small cell lung cancer is an aggressive tumor with a very poor prognosis. Although there are some overlapping histologic features between these tumors, clinical, imaging, and immunohistochemical markers are useful in the differentiation of pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors. The treatment options differ on the basis of histologic characteristics. In this article, we aim to describe the spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors of the lung, except for small cell lung cancer, and their clinical, pathologic, and imaging findings, with a focus on treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 23 2015


  • carcinoid
  • neuroendocrine
  • pulmonary


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