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J Thorac Oncol. 2009 May;4(5):635-8. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e31819d18f9.

Primary tracheal tumors: review of 37 cases.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Jongno-Gu, Seoul, Korea.



Primary tracheal tumors are rare, and composed of various benign and malignant pathologies. Although nationwide epidemiologic studies were reported in western population, study about the oriental population is lacking. The aims of this study were to establish the clinical manifestations and treatment outcomes of primary tracheal tumors and explore the prognostic variables for malignant tracheal tumors.


From January 1989 through December 2006, 37 patients (14 with benign tumors, 23 with malignant tumors) were treated in a tertiary referral center. Retrospective review of medical records was performed.


Benign tumors comprised of various pathologies. Except the papilloma cases (n = 3), all of them were managed successfully without recurrence. Squamous cell carcinomas (n = 11) and adenoid cystic carcinomas (n = 9) comprised most of the malignant tumors. Clinical stage was a statistically significant prognostic variable (p = 0.016). Five-year overall survival rate was 41.1% for squamous cell carcinoma and 45.7% for adenoid cystic carcinoma and no statistically significant difference (p = 0.673) was observed.


Papillomas were difficult to manage, however, other benign tumors were successfully treated. Among malignant tumors, surgery should be considered as the first choice of treatment, regardless of the histologic type, if the tumors are resectable.

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