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J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Jun;5(6):830-6.

A single institution-based retrospective study of surgically treated bronchioloalveolar adenocarcinoma of the lung: clinicopathologic analysis, molecular features, and possible pitfalls in routine practice.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of General Surgery and Surgical Specialties, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.



Prognostic evaluation of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) from a homogenous population of Caucasian patients.


Retrospective analysis of resected BAC reclassified according to the 2004 World Health Organization classification of lung tumors. Analyzed variables are clinicoradiologic presentation, histologic subtypes, stage, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2/neu immunohistochemical expression, EGFR exons 18, 19, and 21 mutations, K-RAS exon 2 mutation. Univariate and multivariate analyses of survival were performed.


Of 40 patients analyzed, EGFR and HER2/neu expression were detected in 72% and 20%, respectively. HER2/neu expression significantly characterized mucinous BAC (46% versus 7%; p = 0.014). EGFR mutations were identified in 17% (30% in nonmucinous BAC and none in mucinous BAC; p = 0.083). K-RAS mutations were found in 42.5% (92% in mucinous BAC versus 18% in other types; p 0.0001). Early stages (IA+IB) nonmucinous BAC had excellent prognosis: 5 years overall survival of 91% (100% for stage IA). Sixty six percent (4 of 6) of patients with multifocal disease died (two mucinous BAC and one nonmucinous BAC with recurrent disease). Seventy one percent (5 of 7) of patients with pneumonic-like tumor (all mucinous BAC) died of recurrent/progressive disease. Stage (p = 0.004) and histologic classifications (p = 0.035) resulted as independent prognostic factors at multivariate analysis.


Early stage nonmucinous BAC has excellent prognosis, whereas mucinous BAC presents a poor prognosis. Locally advanced nonmucinous BAC has a poor prognosis: the diagnosis of nonmucinous BAC in large tumors should be interpreted with caution given the possible presence of invasive areas in incompletely sampled tumor. Coexpression of EGFR and HER2/neu in mucinous BAC could be considered for future trials on target therapies even in Caucasian population.

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