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Cancer Res. 1994 Jun 1;54(11):2908-13.

The prognostic significance of neuroendocrine markers and carcinoembryonic antigen in patients with resected stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, State University of New York-Health Science Center, Syracuse 13210.


Non-small cell lung cancer with neuroendocrine differentiation may represent a subset of patients with a more aggressive (like small cell lung cancer) or less aggressive (like carcinoid) biological behavior. To investigate their prognostic significance, immunohistochemical stains for 4 neuroendocrine markers (neuron-specific enolase, chromogranin A, Leu-7, and synaptophysin) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) were studied in 260 patients with surgically resected stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer. The following percentages of cases were positive for each marker: neuron-specific enolase, 70.0%; chromogranin A, 14.2%; Leu-7, 7.7%; synaptophysin, 11.2%; and CEA, 68.5%. Sixty-one (23.5%) were positive for > or = 2 neuroendocrine markers. When compared to adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma displayed lower positivity for CEA and > or = 2 neuroendocrine markers. There was no significant difference in stage, site of relapse (distant versus local), disease-free, or overall survival for each marker individually or for those with > or = 2 neuroendocrine markers. Multivariate analysis showed that higher nodal stage (N1 versus N0), tumor stage (T2 versus T1), older age, and the presence of mucin predicted for poorer overall survival. Neuroendocrine markers and CEA were not of prognostic significance in this group of patients with resected stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer.

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