Bronchial carcinoid tumour

Bronchial carcinoid tumours are carcinoid tumours primarily occurring in relation to a bronchus. They were previously incorrectly termed as bronchial adenomas. They usually occur in association with a segmental or larger bronchus.

Typically affects patients from 3rd to 7th decades with the mean age around 45 years 7,10.

Presentation can vary dependant on location. Central neoplasms usually give symptoms due to bronchial obstruction (such symptoms can include pneumonia, atelectasis, bronchiectasis, emphysema or even a lung abscess); if airway obstruction is partial, symptoms such as cough, wheezing and recurrent pulmonary infections can occur. Peripheral tumours on the contrary are generally asymptomatic and they are discovered occasionally. Presentation with the carcinoid syndrome is rather rare (~2-5%) 5,10.

They are neuroendocrine neoplasms that range from low-grade typical carcinoids to more aggressive atypical carcinoids. They can therefore demonstrate a wide spectrum in terms of clinical behaviour as well as histology.

Most (~60%) tend to be central within the tracheobronchial tree 3; the vast majority of which arise from the central bronchi, rarely from the trachea 4.

Chest radiographic features are often non-specific. They are most frequently seen as round or oval opacities with sharp and often notched margins 2. Associated airway compression with pulmonary atelectasis may be also seen in some cases.

Central lesions are usually seen as:

  • a single hilar or perihilar mass which is usually well-defined, round or ovoid
  • can be of any size but are typically 2-5 cm
  • there is often marked homogeneous contrast enhancement due to high vascularity
  • calcification (usually eccentric) can occur but is not a common feature

Article information

rID: 20693
System: Oncology, Chest
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Bronchial carcinoid
  • Bronchial carcinoid tumours
  • Bronchial carcinoid tumor
  • Bronchial carcinoid tumors
  • Bronchial carcinoids
  • Carcinoid tumours involving the bronchi
  • Primary bronchial carcinoid tumour
  • Bronchial carcinoid tumors (BCT's)
  • Bronchial carcinoid tumor (BCT)
  • Bronchial carcinoid tumours (BCT's)
  • Bronchial carcinoid tumour (BCT)
  • Bronchial adenoma
  • Bronchial adenomas
  • Central pulmonary carcinoid
  • Central carcinoid tumour of the lung
  • Central carcinoid tumours of the lung
  • Central carcinoid tumor of the lung
  • Central carcinoid tumors of the lung

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: gross pathology
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3: causing distal obstruction
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 5: on 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.