Metachronous primary lung carcinoma

Last revised by David Luong on 27 Jul 2021

Metachronous primary lung carcinoma usually refers to tumors with the same histology which are "separated in time" when there has been a disease-free interval between cancers.

Its definition has been "variably" defined in the literature and can include:

  • time interval of at least 2 years or the second tumor is found in a different segment, lobe, or lung with no carcinoma in the lymphatics common to both; and there is no evidence of extrapulmonary metastasis at the time of diagnosis 1
  • SEER database recommendation: 2-month period to distinguish between synchronous and metachronous multiple primaries.
  • IARC suggestion: registration of synchronous tumors diagnosed in an interval of less than 6 months (or metachronous if more than 6 months) if arising in different sites
  • "the latter two suggestions have been for "any" cancer and not just lung cancer"

Average lifelong rate of developing a "new primary lung cancer" is thought to be approximately 1% and 6% per year after radical therapy for non-small-cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer, respectively 4.

  • pulmonary metastasis from original initial lung cancer

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: metachronous lung cancer post-pneumonectomy
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