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Ann Oncol. 2001 Oct;12(10):1383-91.

Experience in treatment of metastatic pulmonary carcinoid tumors.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.



The only cure for patients with pulmonary carcinoids is surgery. In the present paper, we report the results of medical treatment of patients with metastatic tumors, their circulating hormone markers, and immunohistochemical profile of the tumors.


The response to systemic antitumoral treatment was studied in 31 patients with metastatic pulmonary carcinoids. Median survival from treatment start was 25 months. Alpha-interferon treatment has resulted in stable disease in 4 of 27 patients (median duration 15 months), while 23 patients showed progressive disease. Somatostatin analogues given as single drug treatment resulted in progressive disease. Streptozotocin and 5-fluorouracil resulted in progressive disease in seven of seven patients. Stable disease was obtained for 8 and 10 months respectively in two of two patients treated with streptozotocin + doxorubicin. Two of eight patients treated with cisplatinum + etoposide showed a significant decrease in tumor size lasting six and eight months respectively, and one displayed stable disease for seven months. Elevation of plasma chromogranin A was seen in 93%.


The results of systemic antitumoral treatment of pulmonary carcinoids with distant metastases are generally discouraging. Chemotherapy with cisplatinum + etoposide, or doxorubicin combined with streptozotocin or paclitaxel may be of value. Alpha-interferon and octreotide offer efficient symptomatic relief, but stabilizes tumor growth in merely 15% of the cases. Plasma chromogranin A is the most frequently elevated tumor marker.

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