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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Oct;273(10):2925-30. doi: 10.1007/s00405-015-3799-y. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

Should patients with laryngeal small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma receive prophylactic cranial irradiation?

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Department of Otolaryngology, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain.
Department of Pathology, Allegiance Health, Jackson, MI, USA.
Instituto Universitario de OncologĂ­a del Principado de Asturias, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Department of Radiation Oncology, The Prince of Wales Cancer Centre, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Pathology Division, Shizuoka Cancer Center Hospital and Research Institute, Shizuoka, Japan.
University of Udine School of Medicine, Udine, Italy.
Coordinator of the International Head and Neck Scientific Group, Padua, Italy.


While small cell neuroendocrine carcinomas (SCNCs) most often arise in the lung, extrapulmonary SCNCs arise in a variety of locations-including the head and neck region. In particular, laryngeal SCNCs-while rare tumors-are nevertheless recognized as distinct lesions. The rarity of laryngeal SCNC gives rise to two distinct difficulties: first (particularly with small biopsy specimens), laryngeal SCNC can be difficult to diagnose by routine light microscopy; second, limited experience with these tumors can make the crafting of a treatment plan for individual patients difficult. As regards the first problem, pathologic diagnosis is greatly enhanced by the application of immunohistochemistry. The second problem-crafting a successful treatment strategy-presents a much larger difficulty. It is tempting to extrapolate from experience with the (more common) pulmonary SCNC in search of a strategy applicable to laryngeal SCNC; such an extrapolation, however, may not be uniformly successful. In particular, while a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy appears to be as valuable in the treatment of extrapulmonary as it is in the treatment of pulmonary SCNC, prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI)-which has enjoyed some success in the treatment of some patients with pulmonary SCNC-does not appear to have similar utility in patients with laryngeal SCNC. Accordingly, the use of PCI does not appear to have a role to play at this point in time in the treatment of patients with laryngeal SCNC.


Brain metastases; Extrapulmonary small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma; Larynx; Neuroendocrine neoplasms; Prophylactic cranial irradiation

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