Typical carcinoid tumor

Editorial Board Member: Carlos Parra-Herran, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief: Debra Zynger, M.D.

Topic Completed: 01 August 2018

Revised: 09 January 2019

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PubMed Search: Carcinoid tumor cervix

Related topics: Atypical carcinoid
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Cite this page: Srivastava S. Typical carcinoid tumor. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/cervixcarcinoidtumor.html. Accessed January 22nd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Grade 1 neuroendocrine tumor
  • Recommended terminology for neuroendocrine tumors arising in the cervix is similar to that used for gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors
  • Same architectural and cytological features as neuroendocrine tumors at other sites
Essential features
  • Low grade (grade 1) neuroendocrine tumor
  • Characteristic neuroendocrine and organoid differentiation without nuclear atypia, mitotic figures or necrosis
  • No specific recommendation for Ki67 labelling index or mitotic count
  • Generally follow an indolent course; however, they retain the potential for metastatic spread
  • For typical carcinoid tumor: low grade neuroendocrine tumor, grade 1
  • For atypical carcinoid tumor: low grade neuroendocrine tumor, grade 2 or grade 3 (Modern Pathology 2018;31:1770)
  • Updated 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) classification of neuroendocrine tumors of female reproductive organs provides following terminology for uterine cervix which is more in line with the terminology used for GI tract (Curr Oncol Rep 2017;19:59) and aligns with the recently proposed unified nomenclature by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and World Health Organization (WHO) (Modern Pathology 2018;31:1770)
    • Low grade neuroendocrine tumor (typical carcinoid, atypical carcinoid tumor), corresponding to the term “Neuroendocrine Tumor” in the 2018 terminology
    • High grade neuroendocrine carcinoma (small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma)corresponding to the term “Neuroendocrine Carcinoma” in the 2018 terminology
    • Adenocarcinoma admixed with neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • Overall, cervical neuroendocrine tumors represent ~2% of all cervical malignancies (Case Rep Oncol 2017;10:737)
  • Cervical low grade neuroendocrine tumors are extremely rare, accounting for less than 0.5% of cervical cancers
  • Most patients are in fourth to fifth decade
  • Patients tend to be younger, more often white / Caucasian compared to more common cervical carcinomas (squamous and adenocarcinoma)
  • Neuroendocrine differentiation occurs within neoplasms arising from the cervical epithelium
  • Cells that express neuroendocrine markers are present in some cases of cervical adenocarcinoma in situ and could be the precursor of cervical neuroendocrine tumors
Clinical features
  • Plasma assays for peptides such as calcitonin, gastrin, serotonin, substance P, vasoactive intestinal peptide, pancreatic polypeptide, somatostatin, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, β-melanocyte-stimulating hormone and histamine may be elevated, although it is not related to clinical symptoms
  • Urinary levels of 5-HIAA may be elevated and 24 hour urinary 5-HIAA may be useful
  • Chromogranin A is present in the neurosecretory vesicles of neuroendocrine tumor cells and may be detectable in the plasma of such patients
  • Serum Chromogranin A is a more sensitive and broadly applicable tumor marker for neuroendocrine tumors than is urinary 5-HIAA but it is less specific
  • Chromogranin A levels are higher in patients with diffuse metastases than localized disease or isolated hepatic involvement; higher levels may be associated with a poorer prognosis
  • Data on the correlation of plasma Chromogranin A levels with treatment response and on their prognostic value are not available for cervical carcinoids (Case Rep Oncol 2017;10:737)
Prognostic factors
  • Grade 1 neuroendocrine tumors generally follow an indolent course; however, they retain the potential for metastatic spread and their prognosis is difficult to evaluate due to their rarity
Case reports
Gross description
  • Macroscopic appearance is not distinctive
  • Average reported size range is 0.5 - 11 cm in diameter
  • Lesions are commonly large, sometimes with a barrel shaped appearance
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Well to moderately differentiated and contain neurosecretory granules
  • Growth patterns can be organoid, trabecular, nodular, nests / islands or cord-like
  • Rosette-like structures are common
  • Cells are round to oval with abundant cytoplasm, elongated nuclei, characteristic finely granular chromatin and visible to prominent nucleoli
  • Cells are commonly epithelioid but can be spindled
  • Lack of nuclear atypia, mitotic figures and necrosis
  • Mitotic activity has been traditionally assessed in number of mitoses per high power field; however, the 2018 consensus terminology recommends that mitotic count should be expressed as mitoses per mm2 area, ideally counted in up to 10mm2 to assure accuracy (Modern Pathology 2018;31:1770)
    • In typical carcinoid tumors, mitotic activity is absent
  • No specific evidence for the formulaic use of Ki67 labelling index or mitotic count for grading (Case Rep Oncol 2017;10:737, Gynecol Oncol 2017;144:637)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:
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Cervical polyp occupied by carcinoid tumor

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Negative stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
  • Metastatic carcinoid from other locations especially GI tract
Board review question #1
Which of the following is true?

  1. Typical carcinoids are commonly positive for high risk HPV
  2. Typical carcinoids commonly present with carcinoid syndrome
  3. Typical carcinoids frequently metastasize
  4. Typical carcinoids lack nuclear atypia, mitotic figures and necrosis
Board review answer #1
D. Typical carcinoids lack nuclear atypia, mitotic figures and necrosis
Board review question #2
Which of the following is false?

  1. Necrosis is an important feature of typical carcinoid
  2. Presence of neuroendocrine component (even in combination with SCC or adenocarcinoma) needs to be documented in pathology report
  3. There are no specific Ki67 labeling index criteria to define typical carcinoids
  4. Typical carcinoids generally follow an indolent course
Board review answer #2
A. Necrosis is an important feature of typical carcinoid

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