Generally, patients with stage I-IIIa (TNM) pulmonary carcinoid disease have a favourable prognosis after curative resection. Yet, distant recurrence of disease after curative surgery occurs in approximately 1–6% of patients with typical carcinoid and 14–29% in patients with atypical carcinoid disease, respectively. Known predictors of distant recurrence of disease are atypical carcinoid, lymphatic involvement, and incomplete resection status. However, none of them can be reliably used, alone or in combination, to exclude patients from long-term follow-up (advised 15 years). By genomic profiling, Orthopedia homeobox (OTP
) has been identified as a promising prognostic marker for pulmonary carcinoid with a favourable prognosis and low risk of distant disease recurrence. Moreover, OTP is a highly specific marker for carcinoids of pulmonary origin and recent genome wide analysis has identified OTP
as a crucial predictor of aggressive tumor behaviour. OTP in combination with CD44, a stem cell marker and cell-surface protein, enables the identification of patients with surgical resected carcinoid disease that could potentially be excluded from long-term follow-up. In future clinical practice OTP may enable clinicians to reduce the diagnostic burden and related distress and reduce costs of long-term radiological assessments in patients with a pulmonary carcinoid. This review addresses the current clinical value of OTP and the possible molecular mechanisms regulating OTP expression and function in pulmonary carcinoids.
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