Lung cancer is typically considered in two categories:
- Small cell lung cancer is considered a unique entity
- Non-small cell lung cancer includes all other lung cancer subtypes
There are, however, numerous types of 'non-small cell lung cancer', and the differences in their behaviour is still under investigation.
Current WHO Epithelial Lung Cancer Classifications
The most recent release of the WHO Classification of Malignant Tumours of the Lung divides the malignant epithelial lung tumours into a number of pathological subtypes. These are:
Including papillary, clear cell, small cell and basaloid variants
Including a combined small cell carcinoma variant
Includes acinar, papillary, bronchioloalveolar and solid with mucin production types, as well as a mixed subtype. Bronchioloalveolar may be mucinous, non-mucinous, or a mixed subtype. Solid adenocarcinoma with mucin production subtypes include fetal adenocarcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, mucinous cystadenocarcinoma, signet ring adenocarcinoma, or clear cell adenocarcinoma
Variants include large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, basaloid carcinoma, lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma, clear cell carcinoma, or large cell carcinoma with rhabdoid phenotype. Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma contains a subclassification for combined large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma
Variants include pleomorphic carcinoma, spindle cell carcinoma, giant cell carcinoma, carcinosarcoma, and pulmonary blastoma.
This includes typical and atypical types of carcinoid tumour
This is a category of tumours, which includes mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma
This is a category of in situ or other pathologies which are thought have a high risk of transformation to an invasive carcinoma.
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