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Lung Cancer. 2006 Jul;53(1):111-5. Epub 2006 May 11.

Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung: a retrospective analysis of 144 surgical cases.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milan, Italy.



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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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