Colloid adenocarcinoma of the lung

Last revised by Bruno Di Muzio on 25 Apr 2020

Colloid adenocarcinoma of the lung is an extremely rare (i.e. only accounting for ~0.2% of all lung cancers) variant of invasive lung adenocarcinoma.


It is histologically characterized by the presence of abundant mucus in the tumor with neoplastic cells seen floating in large pools of mucus and focally lining alveolar spaces. 

Radiographic features

Due to its rarity, there are only limited publications on its imaging appearances.


Limited reports suggest this can look like a mass with poor/scant contrast enhancement with attenuation from around -16 to 20 HU (median ~9 HU) 3.


Not usually performed in thoracic imaging but if performed may show:

  • T1: low intensity
  • T2: high intensity (might be from the mucus component)
Nuclear medicine

May show curvilinear or crisscross FDG uptake where tumor cells line walls or septal structures 3.


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