Granular cell tumors of the tracheobronchial tree.
Maten, J van der
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OBJECTIVE: To describe the population-based incidence and clinical characteristics of granular cell tumors of the tracheobronchial tree. METHODS: All newly registered tracheobronchial granular cell tumors in the Dutch Network and National Database for Pathology for 10 consecutive years (1990-1999) were identified. The histologic diagnosis was confirmed and patient demographics, management, and follow-up data were analyzed. RESULTS: Thirty-one tumors were registered in 30 patients (12 male patients and 18 female patients; mean age 51 years; range 11-84) in a population of approximately 15 million. Tracheal tumors were identified in 11 patients and bronchial tumors in 19 patients (1 patient had 2 tumors). About half of the patients were asymptomatic. In the majority of the patients (61%) the granular cell tumor was an incidental finding during workup for lung carcinoma. Tracheal granular cell tumors were more frequent in women, whereas bronchial granular cell tumors showed no sex predilection. In the lung these tumors occurred more often in the upper (10 tumors) than in the lower lobes (3 tumors). There was no preference for either side. Four patients with tracheal and 4 with bronchial granular cell tumors were treated with surgery and remain in complete remission. Four bronchial granular cell tumor patients were treated locally with neodymium/yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser or electrocautery and are in complete remission or have stable residual disease. In 3 patients no residual disease was found after biopsy. Of all granular cell tumor patients 17 received no treatment for a variety of reasons, but none of these patients died in the follow-up period because of the granular cell tumors. CONCLUSION: Tracheobronchial granular cell tumor is a benign tumor with a good prognosis. In symptomatic patients surgical intervention is the first choice of treatment, but local treatment is a reasonable option and gives successful results.