Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) of the thorax, including bronchial and thymic neuroendocrine NETs, are often referred to as NETs of the foregut. The incidence and prevalence of NETs are increasing in the United States as demonstrated in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results from 1973 to 2004 (J Clin Oncol. 2008;26:3063-3072). Although the majority of bronchial and thymic NETs are sporadic, approximately 5% to 10% can be associated with hereditary syndrome, multiple endocrine neoplasms type 1 (Nat Rev Cancer. 2005;5:367-375). Diagnosis is made by tissue pathology, allowing for characterization and classification of the NET. Radiologic evaluation is performed to determine the extent of disease involvement. Clinical symptoms from hormonal overproduction or from paraneoplastic processes are medically managed to improve patients' quality of life. Locoregional disease can be curative with surgery; however, distant or metastatic disease is rarely curable. Therapeutic options for metastatic/advanced NETs of the thorax are mainly to palliate symptoms. Final treatment recommendations for patients with either bronchial or thymic NETs should be individualized, weighing the risks and benefits of therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism