Skip to Main Content

Carcinoid and bronchial gland tumors are sometimes termed “bronchial adenomas.” This term should be avoided because it implies that the lesions are benign when, in fact, carcinoid tumors and bronchial gland carcinomas are low-grade malignant neoplasms.

Carcinoid tumors are about six times more common than bronchial gland carcinomas, and most of them occur as pedunculated or sessile growths in central bronchi. Men and women are equally affected. Most patients are under 60 years of age. Common symptoms of bronchial carcinoid tumors are hemoptysis, cough, focal wheezing, and recurrent pneumonia. Peripherally located bronchial carcinoid tumors are rare and present as asymptomatic solitary pulmonary nodules. Carcinoid syndrome (flushing, diarrhea, wheezing, hypotension) is rare. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy may reveal a pink or purple tumor in a central airway. These lesions have a well-vascularized stroma, and biopsy may be complicated by significant bleeding. CT scanning is helpful to localize the lesion and to follow its growth over time. Octreotide scintigraphy is also available for localization of these tumors.

Bronchial carcinoid tumors grow slowly and rarely metastasize. Complications involve bleeding and airway obstruction rather than invasion by tumor and metastases. Surgical excision of clinically symptomatic lesions is often necessary, and the prognosis is generally favorable. Most bronchial carcinoid tumors are resistant to radiation and chemotherapy (see Chapter 39-03).

+
Caplin  ME  et al; ENETS consensus conference participants. Pulmonary neuroendocrine (carcinoid) tumors: European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society expert consensus and recommendations for best practice for typical and atypical pulmonary carcinoids. Ann Oncol. 2015 Aug;26(8):1604–20.
[PubMed: 25646366]
+
Filosso  PL  et al; European Society of Thoracic Surgeons Lung Neuroendocrine Tumors Working-Group Steering Committee. Multidisciplinary management of advanced lung neuroendocrine tumors. J Thorac Dis. 2015 Apr;7(Suppl 2):S163–71.
[PubMed: 25984363]
+
Marquez-Medina  D  et al. Systemic therapy for pulmonary carcinoids. Lung Cancer. 2015 Nov;90(2):139–47.
[PubMed: 26371699]
+
Pusceddu  S  et al. Diagnosis and management of typical and atypical lung carcinoids. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016 Apr;100:167–76.
[PubMed: 26917456]
+
Reuling  EMBP  et al. Endobronchial treatment for bronchial carcinoid: patient selection and predictors of outcome. Respiration. 2018;95(4):220–7.
[PubMed: 29433123]  

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.