Well-Differentiated Bronchopulmonary Neuroendocrine Tumors: More Than One Entity

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Introduction: Until now, well-differentiated bronchopulmonary neuroendocrine tumors (bpNET) occurring either sporadically (sp-bpNET) or in the context of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) and diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia (DIPNECH) are regarded as similar entities. However, in contrast to sp-bpNET: MEN1-related and DIPNECH-related bpNET rarely metastasize or lead to bpNET-related death. We aimed to describe and compare the course of the disease of sp-bpNET, DIPNECH- and MEN1-related bpNET. Methods: All patients with histologically confirmed MEN1-related bpNET from the DutchMEN Study Group database (1990-2017), patients with resected sp-bpNET and DIPNECH patients referred to a Dutch European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society center between 2000 and 2018 were included. Fisher's exact test was used for comparison between groups. The primary end point was disease-specific mortality (DSM). Kaplan-Meier and logrank test were used to compare survival. Cox regression was used to identify risk factors for DSM in the sp-bpNET subgroup. Results: We included 112 sp-bpNET, 29 MEN1, and 27 DIPNECH patients. Tumor classification was similar across subgroups. A total of 20 patients (18%) with sp-bpNET died because of bpNET, compared with none in the MEN1 group and DIPNECH group. Median disease-specific survival was 12.3 (confidence interval: 6.3–18.3) years for patients with sp-bpNET, and not estimable for the other subgroups (p < 0.001). Differences in baseline characteristics did not explain worse survival in sp-bpNET. Tumor classification and age at diagnosis were independent risk factors for DSM in sp-bpNET. Conclusions: Patients with sp-bpNET have a significantly higher DSM compared with MEN1 or DIPNECH-related bpNET, unexplained by differences in baseline characteristics. This implies that not all bpNET are similar entities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1810-1820
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number11
Early online date2 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Bronchopulmonary neuroendocrine tumor (NET)
  • Diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia (DIPNECH)
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1)
  • Sporadic
  • Survival


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