How is large-cell carcinoma subtype of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) characterized?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

Large-cell carcinoma accounts for 10-15% of lung cancers, typically manifesting as a large peripheral mass on chest radiograph. Histologically, this type has sheets of highly atypical cells with focal necrosis, with no evidence of keratinization (as is typical of SCC) or gland formation (as is typical of adenocarcinomas).

With improved histopathologic procedures and the use of electron microscopy, most NSCLCs that would previously have been classified as large-cell carcinomas are identified as undifferentiated adenocarcinomas or, less frequently, as SCCs. [11] Large-cell undifferentiated cancers carry the same prognosis as do adenocarcinomas and are combined with them in clinical trials.


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