Atypical carcinoid of the esophagus: A case report and review of the literature

Guy M. Lindberg, Kyle H. Molberg, M. Frank Vuitch, Jorge Albores-Saavedra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Although carcinoid tumors of the gastrointestinal tract are relatively common, their occurrence in the esophagus is exceedingly rare. The authors report a case of an atypical carcinoid presenting in the cervical esophagus of an 82-year-old woman. METHODS. The tumor was studied with routine, silver, and immunohistochemical techniques for cytokeratin, chromogranin, and various secretory products. In addition, the literature was reviewed for carcinoid tumors of the esophagus and the findings summarized. RESULTS. The esophageal tumor showed focal necrosis, atypical cytologic features, and increased mitotic activity. It stained diffusely for chromogranin and focally for serotonin; thus it was considered an atypical carcinoid. The patient was free of disease 9 months after excision. On review of the literature, 13 additional cases of esophageal carcinoid were found. The average age of the patients was 60 years with a male predominance of 6:1; the most common presenting symptoms included dysphagia and weight loss. The majority of tumors occurred in the submucosa of the lower esophagus, and ranged in size from 1 to 12 cm. All patients except one had surgical treatment, three received adjuvant radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Although follow-up was limited, survival correlated with stage; seven of ten Stage I or II patients were disease free whereas three of four Stage III or IV patients had died of disease; the fourth patient is alive with brain metastases. CONCLUSIONS. Esophageal carcinoid tumors are exceedingly rare neoplasms. They usually occur in the lower esophagus of males who present with dysphagia. Survival statistics are limited, but appear best correlated with disease stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1476-1481
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1997


  • atypical carcinoid
  • endocrine
  • esophagus
  • gastrointestinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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