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Am J Clin Pathol. 1976 Feb;65(2):159-67.

Pseudomesotheliomatous carcinoma of the lung. A variant of peripheral lung cancer.


Six cases of primary lung cancer that closely mimic malignant pleural mesothelioma clinically and anatomically are compared with four proven cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Findings on roentgenograms of the chest, clinical history, and gross examination of the lung specimens are not helpful in distinguishing between these two neoplasms. Microscopic examination of the hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissues is often inconclusive. Tissues were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, PAS with and without diastase treatment (DPAS), mucicarmine, alcian blue, toluidine blue, and colloidal iron with and without digestion by testicular hyaluronidase. Among these histochemical methods, DPAS was found to be particularly useful in distinguishing the primary lung cancers from the mesotheliomas. All primary lung cancers except one showed DPAS-positive material (mucin) in both the cytoplasm of the cancer cells and within the lumina of neoplastic glands. In contrast, none of the mesotheliomas showed the presence of DPAS-positive material. Histologically, all lung cancers were glandular. Five were classified as bronchiolar carcinoma, the remaining one as poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma. In two of the bronchiolar carcinomas, a small subpleural primary focus was demonstrated. This finding suggests a possible origin of these cancers as a small subpleural tumor that became widely disseminated via the subpleural lymphatics. This form of primary lung cancer possesses sufficient gross and microscopic characteristics that recognition should be given to it as a variant of primary lung cancer, with emphasis on differentiating it from pleural mesothelioma.

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