Neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are aggressive malignant diseases. Platinum-etoposide (PE) combination is the standard first-line treatment, whatever the primary location. The NEC score and also retinoblastoma protein (Rb) status have been suggested to be predictive/prognostic factors in NEC. The primary objective of our multicentric retrospective study was to evaluate the prognostic relevance of the NEC score and Rb status, assessed by immunohistochemistry in PE-treated patients with metastatic NEC.
Seven centres participated. The inclusion criteria were NEC, whatever the primary site, metastatic stage, first-line treatment with PE and tissue samples available. Rb status was determined centrally.
We report multicentric data from 185 metastatic patients (37% women, median age 63). There were 108 small-cell NECs (SCNECs, 58.4%), 50 large-cell NECs (LCNECs, 27%) and 27 not otherwise specified NECs (nosNECs, 14.6%). The primary sites were the thorax (37%), gastroenteropancreatic sites (38%), unknown (15%) and other (9%). The mean Ki-67 index was 76% (range 20-100). Rb status was interpretable in 122 cases. Rb expression was lost in 74% of the cases: 84% of SCNEC vs. 60% and 63% of LCNEC and nosNEC, respectively (p = 0.016). Objective response was seen in 70% of SCNEC, 45% of LCNEC and 48% of nosNEC (p < 0.001) and in 62% of Rb-negative tumours vs. 46% of Rb-positive tumours (p = 0.3). There was no difference in median progression-free survival or overall survival (OS) as per Rb status. Age, NEC score and response to chemotherapy were the main factors associated with OS in our cohort.
In our series, Rb status had no prognostic impact in PE-treated metastatic patients with NEC, whereas age, NEC score and response to chemotherapy were the main factors associated with OS.

Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.