Carcinoid tumour - lung

Case contributed by Dr Bruno Di Muzio


Incidental finding on chest radiograph.

Patient Data

Age: 68-year-old
Gender: Female

Selected images of the chest demonstrating a well-defined homogeneous soft tissue mass located in the right lower lobe, touching the pleural surface. 

Nuclear medicine

Selected images of PET-CT confirms the lesions to have increased tracer uptake. 


Lung mass biopsy

Under CT guidance, local anesthetic (1% lignocaine) was injected to skin and to the overlying pleura. A 19G co-axial needle was inserted into the right lower lobe lesion. Through this, a 20G core biopsy needle was used to take 3 samples of the lesion. These were placed in formalin and sent to pathology for further assessment. There were no immediate complications. The patient is to recover in the department and have a delayed post-procedure chest x-ray.

MICROSCOPIC DESCRIPTION: 1.  Sections of lung show a circumscribed partially encapsulated
tumour composed of nests and trabeculae surrounded by limited vascularised stroma.  The tumour cells are cohesive and show mildly enlarged round to elongate nuclei, granular chromatin, inconspicuous nucleoli and vacuolated cytoplasm.  No mitoses are seen.  There is no evidence of necrosis.  The overlying pleura is uninvolved.  No lymphovascular invasion identified.  The resection margin is clear of tumour. The tumour appear similar to the right lung tumour resected previously.

By immunohistochemistry the tumour cells are CD56+, synaptophysen+, chromogranin+. The Ki67 index is ~2%.

2.  The sections show five lymph nodes with reactive changes only.  No evidence of metastatic malignancy.

3.  Sections show two pieces of unremarkable fibrofatty tissue.  No evidence of malignancy is seen.

4.  Sections show one lymph node with anthracosis pigment and reactive changes only.  No evidence of malignancy is seen.

DIAGNOSIS: 1.  Anterior segment left lower lobe: Typical carcinoid tumour

Case Discussion

This patient had a previous history of a right lower lobectomy for carcinoid tumour and now presented with another mass on the same side. The histology confirmed a carcinoid tumour. The radiographic features are nonspecific and tissue diagnosis is essential in determining diagnosis.

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Case information

rID: 44814
Published: 5th May 2016
Last edited: 15th Jul 2017
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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