Multidisciplinary management of advanced lung neuroendocrine tumors

Pier Luigi Filosso, Piero Ferolla, Francesco Guerrera, Enrico Ruffini, William D. Travis, Giulio Rossi, Paolo Olivo Lausi, Alberto Oliaro, the European Society of Thoracic Surgeon Lung Neuroendocrine Tumors Working-Group Steering Committee


The optimal clinical management of aggressive/advanced lung neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is still debated, due to their rarity and the lack of prospective randomized studies. Results derive from retrospective mono-Institutional series, and few dedicated prospective trials, recently designed, are still ongoing. In low-grade tumors [bronchial carcinoids (BCs)] surgery, whenever feasible, remains the mainstay of treatment, and chemo/radiotherapy (RT) should be reserved to progressive diseases (PD). In case of resected N1-N2 BCs, a “watch and see” policy associated with a close clinical/radiological follow-up is recommended. Somatostatin analogs (SSA) seem to be effective in controlling BCs associated endocrine syndromes, while SSA antiproliferative effect has also been reported in the past. Targeted therapy with new drugs (Everolimus) seems to be very promising, but further trials are needed. Surgery alone is not sufficient to treat high-grade NETs: adjuvant CT is required also in early stages. Platinum-Etoposide regimen demonstrated to be the most effective; irinotecan and other biological drugs are considered very promising. In conclusion, the management of advanced lung NETs should be individualized by multidisciplinary teams which include Medical and Radiation Oncologists, Surgeons, Pathologists, Pulmonologists, Endocrinologists, Interventional Radiologists, and the prognosis is mainly dependent on tumor grade and its anatomical extent.