Carcinoid Tumors of the Lung

Jump menu


Less than 2 percent of lung cancers are carcinoids. There are about 4,000 newly diagnosed cases of lung carcinoid tumors in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

For patients confronted with lung carcinoid tumors, City of Hope offers care that is customized for each individual. Your treatment plan will be unique based on the characteristics of your disease and what quality of life means to you.

Our team of talented, compassionate surgeons, medical oncologists, radiopharmacists and experts in nuclear medicine — among many more — work together seamlessly. And the options are leading-edge, from our excellence in minimally invasive surgery to imaging technology that helps our oncologists pinpoint the best treatment plan for each patient.

Request an Appointment

If you have been diagnosed with lung carcinoids, you can make an appointment or seek a second opinion by requesting a consultation online or calling us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

Because carcinoid tumors of the lung are uncommon, it can be difficult to find the right help. City of Hope, located in Southern California, is a nationally recognized leader in the research and treatment of lung cancer and carcinoid tumors of the lung.

  • We have specialists who work regularly with patients facing neuroendocrine tumors, keep pace with the latest developments in treatment and push forward the state of the art with their own innovative research.
  • Our surgical expertise enables us to offer a wider array of options, including surgery for advanced disease and gentler robotic procedures.
  • City of Hope is designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute.
  • For more than a decade, U.S. News & World Report has named City of Hope one of the "Best Hospitals" for cancer in America.
  • We bring together a broad array of expertise from multiple specialties and are unmatched in our rapid “bench-to-bedside” record of translating leading-edge research into real-world treatments.


What Are Lung Carcinoid Tumors?

Pulmonary carcinoid tumors, differ from other cancers that arise in the lungs. They develop from the neuroendocrine system, tissue which has qualities of both nerve cells and hormone-producing cells. Scientists believe that the hormones released by healthy neuroendocrine tissue help the lungs regulate the flow of air, the flow of blood and the growth of other cells.
  • Pulmonary carcinoids are rare malignant tumors, comprising about 1 to 2 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses.
  • There are 4,000 new cases in the U.S. each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Ninety percent of lung carcinoids are classified as “typical,” meaning that they grow slowly and rarely spread.
  • One in 10 are atypical — faster to grow and spread.

What treatment options are available for lung carcinoid tumors?

Our signature approach to care unites a well-coordinated team of top physicians and other practitioners behind a single goal: the right treatment at the right time for each person who seeks our help.

  • For some especially slow-growing tumors, observation may be the right choice, according to recent results of City of Hope research. Other people may be best served enrolling in trials pioneering new strategies for therapy.
  • We keep the big picture in mind, developing a tailored strategy meant to control the disease while sustaining the quality of life you deserve.


City of Hope surgeons have built up a special depth of experience and expertise. As a result, we can offer options that many other centers cannot.
  • Here, some patients who were facing a pneumonectomy — the removal of an entire lung — have benefited from surgery that removes cancer and leaves the lung intact.
  • Likewise, those otherwise facing the rigors of open surgery often can turn to City of Hope for robotic procedures that are gentler on the body and speed up recovery time.

Imaging and Targeted Therapies

Because systemic chemotherapy works by halting fast-growing cells throughout the body, it is typically not part of the menu of treatments for pulmonary carcinoid tumors. Rather, the current arsenal of therapies to control the malignancies home in on weaknesses of the disease.
  • With City of Hope’s precision medicine approach, we analyze lung carcinoids using a leading-edge test called a gallium-68 PET/CT, or Netspot. We are one of only a few centers in California offering this imaging technology. In a gallium-68 scan, tumor cells that have a higher concentration of receptors for a particular hormone called somatostatin light up.
  • Knowing whether malignant cells are somatostatin-positive helps our oncologists lay out the best strategy for fighting neuroendocrine tumors such as lung carcinoids. The frontline medicines — octeotride and lantreotide — attack cancer cells by keying on those somatostatin receptors. Everolimus, a drug that blocks the action of a different biological pathway called mTOR, is another Food and Drug Administration-approved option that can help patients.
Our overall goal is for each individual to get the most benefit from each treatment available, lengthening life and protecting quality of life.
City of Hope’s renowned physicians and researchers utilize the latest in technology and innovation to treat lung carcinoid tumors, coupled with our enduring belief in providing unparalleled compassionate care. Call 800-826-4673 or request an appointment online.

Carcinoid Tumors of the Lung Team

Marianna Koczywas, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
Daneng Li, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
Erminia Massarelli, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
  • Head and Neck Cancers
  • Lung Cancers
Karen Reckamp, M.D., M.S.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
Ravi Salgia, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
Arya Amini, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Radiation Oncology
Sagus Sampath, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Radiation Oncology
Jae Y. Kim, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Thoracic Surgery
Dan J. Raz, M.D., M.A.S.

Clinical Specialties

  • Thoracic Surgery

Lung Carcinoid Clinical Trials

At City of Hope, we believe that patients deserve more, better options to control pulmonary carcinoid tumors. To advance the next generation of treatments — and offer hope to those with advanced disease — we provide care with clinical trials testing new therapies.
  • One type of medicine available through clinical trials is PRRT, or peptide receptor radionuclide therapy. This is a type of targeted radiotherapy that has shown promising results in European studies and recently earned Food and Drug Administration approval to fight other types of neuroendocrine tumors. In PRRT, an engineered molecule masquerading as somatostatin attaches to cancer cells, carrying with it a radioactive payload meant to selectively attack disease.
  • Another clinical trial underway in 2018 focuses on a type of immunotherapy — that is, a treatment built to harness the power of the body’s natural defenses. The phase 1 study tests a regimen using an engineered antibody. The drug is designed to bind with tumors and recruit the immune system to rally and destroy the harmful cells.

Living with lung CARCINOID TUMORS

Getting cancer is frightening and devastating. Getting through it and figuring out how to live a long life takes layers of support. When you come to City of Hope, you get access to a strong support network, including staff to help you and your family at every step in your journey. That includes everything from talk therapy, to meditation, to being connected with a patient navigator. Supportive care is not just about improving your mood and quality of life — it has been shown in studies to extend life.

Learn more about the resources listed below at our Living with Cancer or Supportive Care Medicine sites.

For more information about the supportive care programs we offer, please contact the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center at 626-218-2273 (CARE).

To connect with fellow cancer fighters, caregivers and supporters alike, join our Community of the Hopeful today. is an online community, a space for everyone who has been touched by cancer to make connections, share their stories, offer support and seek advice.

It features new stories weekly on everything from recipes to news about immunotherapy and other groundbreaking treatments. No one should have to go through cancer alone, and Hopeful ensures that every person will have a supportive community to lean on.


Give Hope


Help us turn innovative ideas in to powerful new treatments.