Carcinoid tumors (sometimes called neuroendocrine tumors) usually originate in hormone-producing cells that line the small intestine or other parts of the digestive tract, but they can also occur in the passageways in the lungs (bronchi) and in other organs. Bronchial carcinoid tumors are more likely to be malignant than carcinoid tumors in most other organs but are less likely to actively produce hormones (see Carcinoid Syndrome Carcinoid Tumors and Carcinoid Syndrome Carcinoid tumors are noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) growths that sometimes produce excessive amounts of hormone-like substances (such as serotonin), resulting in the carcinoid... read more )
Bronchial carcinoids most often affect people ages 40 to 60 years.
Symptoms of Bronchial Carcinoid
About half of people with bronchial carcinoids have no symptoms. Other people have symptoms related to the blockage of the airways. Such symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, and cough. Recurrent pneumonia, coughing up blood, and chest pain are also common.
Carcinoid tumors, including bronchial carcinoids, are among the cancers that cause paraneoplastic syndromes Paraneoplastic Syndromes Paraneoplastic (associated with cancer—see also Overview of Cancer) syndromes occur when a cancer causes unusual symptoms due to substances that circulate in the bloodstream. These substances... read more . Paraneoplastic (accompanying cancer) syndromes occur when a cancer causes unusual symptoms due to substances that it makes and secretes into the bloodstream. Symptoms arise from various tissues and organs distant from the tumor. Bronchial carcinoids most typically cause the following:
Cushing syndrome Cushing Syndrome In Cushing syndrome, the level of corticosteroids is excessive, usually due to taking corticosteroid drugs or overproduction by the adrenal glands. Cushing syndrome usually results from taking... read more due to adrenocorticotropic hormone (the hormone most often produced by bronchial carcinoids)
Carcinoid syndrome Carcinoid Tumors and Carcinoid Syndrome Carcinoid tumors are noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) growths that sometimes produce excessive amounts of hormone-like substances (such as serotonin), resulting in the carcinoid... read more occurs in less than 3% of people with bronchial carcinoids.
A left-sided heart murmur (due to serotonin-induced damage of the mitral valve) occurs rarely in people with bronchial carcinoids.
Diagnosis of Bronchial Carcinoid
Diagnosis of bronchial carcinoid is based on bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a direct visual examination of the voice box (larynx) and airways through a viewing tube (a bronchoscope). A bronchoscope has a camera at the end that allows a doctor to look... read more , but chest computed tomography Chest Imaging (CT) and radionuclide scanning Chest Imaging may be done to determine whether the tumor has spread.
Treatment of Bronchial Carcinoid
Sometimes chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Treatment of bronchial carcinoid is with surgical removal with or without chemotherapy Chemotherapy for lung cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. About 85% of cases are related to cigarette smoking. One common symptom is a persistent cough or a change in the character... read more and/or radiation therapy Radiation therapy for lung cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. About 85% of cases are related to cigarette smoking. One common symptom is a persistent cough or a change in the character... read more .
Prognosis depends on tumor type.
The following English language resources provide information and support for patients and their caregivers. THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.
American Cancer Society: General information on all types of cancer, including prevention, testing, treatments and information for people living with cancer and their caregivers
American Cancer Society: Lung Carcinoids: Specific information from ACS on lung carcinoids, including types and treatment
American Lung Association: General information on all types of lung diseases, including lung cancer and quitting smoking
CancerCare: General information about all types of cancer, including resources for counseling and support groups
CancerCare: Lung Cancer: More specific information from Cancer Care for people with lung cancer, including support services and links to additional resources
National Cancer Institute: U. S. government resource on cancer, including research updates and information on clinical trials
National Cancer Institute: Lung Cancer: More specific information from the NCI on lung cancer, especially advances in treatment and the latest research findings
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship: Advocates for high quality care for all people with cancer