Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Lung: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor (NET) of the lung each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Each year, an estimated 2,000 to 4,500 adults in the United States are diagnosed with a lung NET. These tumors make up 1% to 2% of all lung cancers.

As explained in the Introduction, NETs more commonly develop in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract than in the lungs. About 20% of all NETs develop in the lungs. Lung NETs are often diagnosed at a slightly younger age compared to other lung cancer types. Overall, the number of people diagnosed with a NET has been increasing for years, and the reason for this is unknown. This increase is thought to be related to improvements in the way NETs are diagnosed, including better imaging tests and endoscopy, and increased awareness of these tumors.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the tumor is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for a lung NET is 89%. However, the survival rate depends on many factors, including the type of tumor and its grade.

When a lung NET is only in the area where it began, called localized or early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 98%. The 5-year survival rate if the tumor has spread to nearby areas, called regional, is 87%. When the disease has spread to other parts of the body, called distant or stage IV, the 5-year survival rate is 58%.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with a lung NET are an estimate. The estimates come from annual data based on the number of people with this type of tumor in the United States. These numbers include both typical and atypical lung NETs, and survival rates would be expected to be somewhat higher for typical NETs and somewhat lower for atypical NETs. Learn more about typical and atypical lung NETs and how these tumors are graded in Stages and Grades.  

Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how a lung NET is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society website. Additional resource was Dasari A, et al.: Trends in the Incidence, Prevalence, and Survival Outcomes in Patients With Neuroendocrine Tumors in the United States. JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(10):1335–1342. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.0589. (All sources accessed February 2022.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by a lung NET. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.