Lung Cancer - Phase 1

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:

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Including papillary, clear cell, small cell and basaloid variants

Small Cell Carcinoma

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

Large Cell Carcinoma

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

Adenosquamous Carcinoma

Sarcomatoid Carcinoma

Variants include pleomorphic carcinoma, spindle cell carcinoma, giant cell carcinoma, carcinosarcoma, and pulmonary blastoma.


This includes typical and atypical types of carcinoid tumour

Salivary Gland Carcinoma

This is a category of tumours, which includes mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma

Pre-Invasive Lesions

This is a category of in situ or other pathologies which are thought have a high risk of transformation to an invasive carcinoma.

Back to Pathology.