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Endocr Pathol. 2018 Sep;29(3):259-268. doi: 10.1007/s12022-018-9530-y.

Clinical and Pathologic Characteristics of Pulmonary Carcinoid Tumors in Central and Peripheral Locations.

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Department of Medical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.
Department of Histopathology, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.
Department of Cellular Pathology, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.


Pulmonary carcinoid tumors occur in both central and peripheral locations, and some differences in clinico-pathological features have long been observed. We investigated a large number of resected carcinoid tumors with the aim to further define the characteristics of tumors from both locations. One hundred sixty-six resected carcinoid tumors of the lung were analyzed for a variety of clinical and pathologic features, including histology subtype, mitotic rate, Ki67 index, necrosis, invasive pattern, architectural pattern, cell morphology, sustentacular cells, neuroendocrine hyperplasia, and orthopedia homeobox protein (OTP) and TTF-1 immunohistochemical expressions. Unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis suggested three clusters as the best solution using TTF-1 and OTP expression: TTF-1-positive and OTP-positive tumors as cluster 1, TTF-1-positive but OTP-negative as cluster 2, and TTF-1-negative and OTP-negative as cluster 3. Cluster 1 was characterized by peripheral location, presence of spindle cell component, presence of sustentacular cells, female predominance, and strong association with neuroendocrine hyperplasia. Cluster 2 was characterized by central location, polygonal cell morphology, acinar growth pattern in a subset of tumors, and only rare association with neuroendocrine hyperplasia. Cluster 3 consisted of more aggressive tumors with more heterogeneous pathologic features. Tumors showed polygonal cell morphology and acinar growth pattern. Occurrence of neuroendocrine hyperplasia was exceptional. Our study confirmed distinct characteristics of central and peripheral type carcinoid. An important difference was a strong association of the peripheral tumor with neuroendocrine hyperplasia while such an association in central tumors was negligible. The tumor location might be relevant for pathobiology of lung carcinoid tumors.


Carcinoid tumor; Endobronchial; OTP; Sustentacular cell; TTF-1

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