pleomorphic carcinoma of lung

Pleomorphic carcinomas of the lung are a rare type of non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) classified under sarcomatoid carcinomas of the lungs.


These tumors are thought to account for 0.1-0.4% of all lung malignancies.


There is a recognized association with smoking.


Histologically, a pleomorphic carcinoma is defined as either:

At least 10% of the carcinoma should comprise spindle and/or giant cells for it to be classified as a pleomorphic carcinoma.

Radiographic features

There no published specific imaging features for this histological subtype. Most CT features are thought to be dependent on the epithelial component of the tumor .

The tumors can be either endobronchial (central) or peripheral (the latter location is considered commoner ). They can frequently involve the pleural and/or chest wall. Larger tumors may show central low attenuation. Some publications suggest an upper lobe predilection . While many can be well-defined, some can be lobulated, ill-defined or even spiculated .

Treatment and prognosis

A spindle cell histology is generally associated with a more aggressive clinical course . The presence of pleural invasion is associated with a much worse prognosis .

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