Background: Extrapulmonary small-cell carcinoma (EPSCC) has been recognized as a clinicopathological entity distinct from small-cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung. This study aimed to review the clinical features, therapy and natural course of patients with EPSCC in Oriental single-institution series. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with SCC between September 1995 and December 2002. Study eligibility required that patients had pathologically proven SCC in sites other than lung and normal radiological findings of the chest and normal sputum cytology or negative bronchoscopic findings. Results: Twenty-four patients with EPSCC were identified and primary sites were various: uterine cervix in seven (29%), urinary bladder in five, colon or rectum in three, kidney in two and stomach, esophagus, pancreas, common bile duct, larynx, parotid gland, thymus in one each. Sixteen patients (66.7%) had limited disease (LD) and eight had extensive disease (ED). Patients with ED received mostly platinum-based chemotherapy, for which the response rate was 57%, but showed an aggressive natural history, with median overall survival (OS) of 9.2 months. Patients with LD were treated with a variety of therapeutic modalities. LD SCC of the cervix showed a favorable clinical course, with five patients being disease-free with a median follow-up of 28.4 months. Patients with LD SCC of sites other than cervix had an aggressive course with a median OS of 9.6 months. Conclusion: EPSCC was identified in various sites, with the most common primary site being the uterine cervix. Regardless of the primary site or disease stage, EPSCC of sites other than cervix was usually a fatal disease with a discouraging outcome for various treatment modalities.
- Small-cell carcinoma