Lung tumor
Carcinoid and related tumors
Carcinoid tumor

Author: Deepali Jain, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 28 December 2016, last major update September 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: carcinoid tumor[title] lung

Related Topics: central, peripheral
Cite this page: Carcinoid tumor. website. Accessed November 12th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • World Health Organization classification recognizes 4 histologic subtypes of pulmonary neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs), which include typical carcinoids (TCs), atypical carcinoids (ACs), small cell carcinomas (SCCs) and large cell NECs (LCNECs)
  • Also called well-differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • < 5% of primary lung tumors
  • Locally invasive, rarely metastasizes
  • Usually age < 40 years old
  • No gender predilection, not related to smoking
  • Occasionally occurs as part of MEN syndrome
  • May infiltrate or spread to local lymph nodes, but doesn’t affect prognosis
  • Rarely produces carcinoid syndrome (flushing, diarrhea, cyanosis)
  • 10 year survival is 50%
  • In children, involves lung or liver, may metastasize regardless of histology (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2003;127:1200)
Gross description
  • Either central (polypoid and endobronchial in major bronchi) or peripheral (solid / nodular)
  • Usually well defined, smooth, ivory to pink cut surface, no necrosis
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Nests or trabeculae of medium sized polygonal cells with lightly eosinophilic cytoplasm, low nuclear grade, round to oval finely granular nuclei; may have rosettes or small acinar structures with variable mucin
  • Scanty vascular stroma, occasionally amyloid stroma with bone
  • No / minimal mitotic activity (< 2/10HPF), no necrosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Left: fig B; right: fig A

Positive stains