The authors describe a clinical case of a patient with neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung diagnosed after the onset of an intestinal obstruction from an ileal metastasis. A review of literature reveals that the incidence of symptomatic gastro-intestinal metastases from lung cancer has been estimated to be about 2-3% and is exceedingly rare that the intestinal symptoms may be the initial presentation of cancer of the lung.
The authors emphasize the difficulty of preoperative diagnosis of gastro-intestinal metastases which is made, almost always, too late because of the lack of specific symptoms. In our case, on account of the computed tomography, we leaned towards the diagnosis of lymphoma because of the double mediastinal and abdominal localization. Furthermore, this diagnosis was supported by the fact that the pulmonary lesion did not have clear radiological features of a lung cancer.
The prognosis is poor because once intestinal metastases occur, other metastatic sites, which would make surgery only a palliative measure, are already present. The review of the literature shows that the average survival rate of these patients is 136 days. In our case the patient survived 277 days.