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Clin Lung Cancer. 2006 Mar;7(5):313-22.

Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma: a review.

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Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA.


Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) is classified as a subset of lung adenocarcinoma but has a distinct clinical presentation, tumor biology, response to therapy, and prognosis compared with other subtypes of non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma disproportionately affects women, never-smokers, and Asians and is characterized by growth along alveolar septae without evidence of stromal, vascular, or pleural invasion. Although pure BAC accounts for approximately 4% of lung cancers, tumors with histologically mixed BAC and adenocarcinoma account for > 20% of all NSCLCs, and the incidence of BAC might be increasing. Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma histology is most commonly found in small lesions identified incidentally on chest radiographs or computed tomography scans and might represent a precursor lesion to invasive adenocarcinoma. As with other subsets of NSCLC, surgical resection is the only potentially curative treatment. Patients with unresectable BAC are more likely to respond to the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib than patients with other subtypes of NSCLC. Stage for stage, patients with BAC have a higher rate of long-term survival but might have an increased rate of intrathoracic recurrence than patients with other subtypes of NSCLC.

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