Evolving concepts in the pathology and computed tomography imaging of lung adenocarcinoma and bronchioloalveolar carcinoma.


To review recent advances in pathology and computed tomography (CT) of lung adenocarcinoma and bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC).

A pathology/CT review panel of pathologists and radiologists met during a November 2004 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer/American Society of Clinical Oncology consensus workshop in New York. The purpose was to determine if existing data was sufficient to propose modification of criteria for adenocarcinoma and BAC as newly published in the 2004 WHO Classification of Lung Tumors, and to address the pathologic/radiologic concept of diffuse/multicentric BAC.

Solitary small, peripheral BACs have an excellent prognosis. Most lung adenocarcinomas with a BAC pattern are not pure BAC, but rather adenocarcinoma, mixed subtype with invasive patterns. This applies to tumors presenting with a diffuse/multinodular as well as solitary nodule pattern. The percent of BAC versus invasive components in lung adenocarcinomas appears to be prognostically important. However, a consensus definition of "minimally invasive" BAC with a favorable prognosis could not be achieved. While recognition of a BAC component is possible, the diagnosis of BAC with exclusion of invasive adenocarcinoma cannot be made by small biopsy or cytology specimens.

There is a need to work toward a mutual understanding and consensus between pathologists, clinicians, and researchers with the use of the term BAC versus adenocarcinoma. Future studies should make some attempt to quantitate these components and/or other features such as size of scar, size of invasive component, or pattern of invasion. Hopefully, this work will allow definition of a category of adenocarcinoma, mixed subtype with predominant BAC/minimal invasion and a favorable prognosis.

  • Brambilla E
  • Cappuzzo F
  • Flieder DB
  • Franklin WA
  • Franks TJ
  • Galvin JR
  • Garg K
  • Geisinger KR
  • Ginsberg M
  • Hasleton PS
  • Henderson DW
  • Hirsch F
  • Jacobson F
  • Johnson BE
  • Kakinuma R
  • Kerr K
  • Nicholson AG
  • Noguchi M
  • Padera R
  • Roggli V
  • Sabloff B
  • Thunnisen F
  • Travis WD
  • Tsao MS
  • Vazquez M
  • Wistuba II
  • Yankelevitz D
  • Zakowski M
PubMed ID
Appears In
J Clin Oncol, 2005, 23 (14)