Well-differentiated neuroendocrine or carcinoid tumors are found most commonly in the gastrointestinal tract. When metastatic to the orbit, they tend to have a propensity for the extraocular muscles. The purpose of this study was to better understand the diversity in presentation of orbital carcinoid disease and to determine predictors for survival.
In this observational cross-sectional cohort study, data from 8 tertiary orbital practices were compiled. Demographic, clinical, pathologic, American Joint Committee on Cancer stage and grade, imaging, and management data were extracted for all the patients. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Subgroups were compared utilizing analysis of variance analyses and Kaplan–Meier curves. Time to progression and disease-specific and overall mortality were calculated. Comparisons were performed for the following a priori pairs: unknown versus known primary tumor, single versus multiple extraocular muscle involvement, unilateral versus bilateral orbital disease, extraocular muscle versus other orbital involvement, and excisional versus incisional surgery.
A total of 28 patients with carcinoid tumors of the orbit were identified. Of these, 57.1% of patients were female, the mean age at diagnosis of the primary tumor was 58.8 years and the mean age at diagnosis of orbital disease was 62.6 years. At primary presentation, all patients were American Joint Committee on Cancer stage III or IV and 21.4% demonstrated carcinoid syndrome. Muscle involvement was noted in 78.6% of patients, and of these, 72% were noted to have single muscle disease. Eight patients had no primary tumor identified; 3 of these 8 demonstrated disseminated disease at the time of diagnosis. The overall 5-year survival rate was 81.8% from diagnosis of primary tumor and 50% from diagnosis of orbital disease. Subgroup analysis revealed that patients with unilateral orbital disease when compared with bilateral orbital disease had a longer progression-free survival and time to death from all causes (p = 0.025). Patients with disease localized to the orbit at presentation had longer time to death than those with disseminated disease. Treatment with surgery, radiation, or octreotide did not appear to affect survival. Patients managed with systemic chemotherapy had a shorter time of survival than the rest of the group. All other subgroup comparisons were not found to be statistically significant.
Neuroendocrine tumors of the orbit represent a wide spectrum of disease, with some cases being part of disseminated disease, while others being localized presentations. This heterogeneity may be responsible for the slightly higher overall survival in these patients than others with metastatic carcinoid tumors in other locations.