Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Thorac Surg. 2006 Jul;82(1):268-72; discussion 272-3.

Uncommon primary tracheal tumors.

Author information

  • 1Division of Thoracic Surgery and Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.



Primary tracheal tumors other than adenoid cystic or squamous cell carcinoma are uncommon and have a heterogeneous histologic appearance. The experience regarding their treatment and long-term outcome is limited, and alternatives to segmental tracheal resection, including endoscopic treatment or radiation, continue to be explored.


A retrospective analysis was performed of uncommon tracheal tumors among 360 primary tracheal tumors seen over 40 years, excluding adenoid cystic and squamous cell carcinoma.


Of 90 patients, 34 (38%) had benign tumors and 56 malignant: 11 carcinoid tumors, 14 mucoepidermoid carcinomas, 13 sarcomas, 15 nonsquamous bronchogenic carcinomas, 2 lymphomas, and 1 melanoma. Three patients had a second tracheal malignancy. Dyspnea was the most common symptom in benign tumors and hemoptysis in malignant tumors. Twelve patients did not undergo tracheal resection (13.3%) and 1 died before resection. Surgical therapy in 77 patients (85%) consisted of laryngectomy in 3, laryngotracheal resection in 9, tracheal resection in 46, and carinal resection in 19. Hospital mortality was 2.6% (2 of 77 patients) and major complications occurred in 16% (12 of 77 patients). Mean follow-up was 9.7 years. After resection, survival at 10 years was 94% for benign and 83% for carcinoid tumors, and at 5 years survival was 60% for bronchogenic carcinoma, 100% for mucoepidermoid tumors, and 78% for sarcomas. Patients with lymphomas and melanoma are alive more than 8 years after resection. Ten patients experienced recurrence (14%).


Surgical resection of uncommon primary tracheal tumors alleviates airway obstruction, is curative in patients with benign or slow-growing malignant lesions, and prolongs survival in highly malignant lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk