Large-cell lung cancer

Dr Henry Knipe and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Large-cell lung cancer is one of the histological types of non-small cell carcinomas of the lung.

It is thought to account for approximately 10% of bronchogenic carcinoma 1.

Patients present with dyspnea, chronic cough and haemoptysis.

Microscopically large cell carcinoma is characterised by large nuclei/nucleoli with a moderate amount of cytoplasm, hence the name large cell carcinoma. This undifferentiated tumour lacks distinctive features of small cell carcinoma, glandular or squamous differentiation. A histological subtype is of a large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma 3.

On immunophenotyping, characteristic features include 2:

  • loss of staining with CK5/6
  • CK14 positive in most squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
  • lack of MOC 31 positive in most adenocarcinomas
  • positive immunoreactivity to EGFR, PDGFR-alpha and c-kit.

Large-cell lung cancer of the lung typically presents as a large peripheral mass of solid attenuation and irregular margin. Focal necrosis can be present. Other characteristics include rapid growth and early metastasis. 

The histologic subtype of large cell neuroendocrine tumour has a more aggressive pattern and is associated with poorer prognosis. 

Lung cancer
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Article information

rID: 22405
System: Chest, Oncology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Large cell cancer of the lung
  • Large cell cancer of lung
  • Large cell carcinoma of lung
  • Large cell carcinomas (LCC) of the lung
  • Large cell carcinomas of the lung

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