Primary sarcomatoid carcinomas of the lung refer to a heterogeneous group of non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC).
They are thought to account for 0.2 to 1% of all lung cancers 1. A sarcomatoid histology may be present in 0.1-0.4% of non-small cell lung cancers 3.
They are poorly differentiated non-small cell cancers that contain a sarcoma or sarcoma-like component. They are the most common pulmonary neoplasms that exhibit a composition by spindled or pleomorphic tumor cells. Due to this reason, they may be confused easily with true sarcomas diagnostically unless special immunohistological or ultrastructural analyzes are performed.
Specific subgroups that have been classified under sarcomatoid carcinomas of the lungs include 4,6:
- pleomorphic carcinoma of the lung
- spindle cell carcinoma of the lung
- giant cell carcinoma of the lung
- carcinosarcoma of the lung
- pulmonary blastoma
Treatment and prognosis
While some publications suggest a poorer prognosis with sarcomatoid histology 3 although this fact appears to be debatable according to other publications 1.
If a sarcomatoid histology is revealed following a biopsy for a lung lesion, differentials to consider include 7:
- diffuse sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma involving the lung: likely to have an associated pleural component
- metastatic sarcomatoid neoplasm to lung
- 1. Hountis P, Moraitis S, Dedeilias P et-al. Sarcomatoid lung carcinomas: a case series. Cases J. 2009;2 (1): 7900. doi:10.4076/1757-1626-2-7900 - Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation
- 2. Travis WD. Sarcomatoid neoplasms of the lung and pleura. Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med. 2010;134 (11): 1645-58. doi:10.1043/2010-0086-RAR.1 - Pubmed citation
- 3. Martin LW, Correa AM, Ordonez NG et-al. Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung: a predictor of poor prognosis. Ann. Thorac. Surg. 2007;84 (3): 973-80. doi:10.1016/j.athoracsur.2007.03.099 - Pubmed citation
- 4. Franks TJ, Galvin JR. Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung: histologic criteria and common lesions in the differential diagnosis. Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med. 2010;134 (1): 49-54. doi:10.1043/2008-0547-RAR.1 - Pubmed citation
- 5. Kim TH, Kim SJ, Ryu YH et-al. Pleomorphic carcinoma of lung: comparison of CT features and pathologic findings. Radiology. 2004;232 (2): 554-9. Radiology (full text) - doi:10.1148/radiol.2322031201 - Pubmed citation
- 6. Travis WD. Sarcomatoid neoplasms of the lung and pleura. Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med. 2010;134 (11): 1645-58. doi:10.1043/2010-0086-RAR.1 - Pubmed citation
- 7. Litzky LA. Pulmonary sarcomatous tumors. Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med. 2008;132 (7): 1104-17. doi:10.1043/1543-2165(2008)132[1104:PST]2.0.CO;2 - Pubmed citation