Pleomorphic carcinoma of lung

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Yuranga Weerakkody et al.

Pleomorphic carcinoma of the lung is a rare type of lung tumour. They are classified under sarcomatoid carcinomas of the lungs.

These tumours are thought to account for 0.1-0.4% of all lung malignancies.

There is a recognised association with smoking.

Histologically, a pleomorphic carcinoma is defined as either 

At least 10% of the carcinoma should comprise spindle and/or giant cells for it to be classified as a pleomorphic carcinoma.

There no published specific imaging features for this histological subtype. Most CT features are thought to be dependent on the epithelial component of the tumour 5.

The tumours can be either endobronchial (central) or peripheral (the latter location is considered commoner 1,7). They can frequently involve the pleural and/or chest wall. Larger tumours may show central low attenuation. Some publications suggest an upper lobe predilection 5. While many can be well-defined, some can be lobulated, ill-defined or even spiculated 5.

A spindle cell histology is generally associated with a more aggressive clinical course 3,4. The presence of pleural invasion is associated with a much worse prognosis 7.

Lung cancer
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Article information

rID: 22594
System: Chest, Oncology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Pleomorphic carcinoma of lungs
  • Pleomorphic carcinoma of the lung
  • Pleomorphic carcinoma of the lungs
  • Pleomorphic pulmonary carcinoma
  • Pleomorphic pulmonary carcinomas

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