Lung cancer associated with diffuse pulmonary fibrosis: CT-pathologic correlation

J Thorac Imaging. 2003 Apr;18(2):67-71. doi: 10.1097/00005382-200304000-00002.


The authors reviewed the computed tomographic (CT) scans and pathologic specimens of 57 histologically proved bronchogenic carcinomas (35 squamous cell carcinomas, 12 small cell carcinomas, and 10 adenocarcinomas) in 47 patients with diffuse pulmonary fibrosis. The patients ranged in age from 61 to 87 years (mean age, 72 years; 42 men and 5 women). On radiography and CT, most tumors (82%) were located in peripheral areas of honeycomb lung. In 50 of the 57 lesions, the tumors were round or lobulated with sharp margins. In seven tumors, including six squamous cell carcinomas and one small cell carcinoma, the tumor invaded the adjacent honeycomb lung and lacked distinct margins. Intratumor lucency was seen in 13 tumors (five solitary and eight multiple). The CT findings, including high-resolution CT scans, were compared with the histologic findings in a subgroup of 29 lesions in 25 patients with available surgical or autopsy specimens. Invasive growth of tumors with unclear margins (four lesions), septal thickening of the contiguous/surrounding honeycombed areas (16 lesions), and discrete masses (nine lesions) with solitary (four of nine) or multiple (five of nine) intratumor lucencies. The lucencies in six of nine patients (67%) with intratumor lucencies were found to represent engulfed cystic airspaces histologically. CT revealed that bronchogenic carcinoma associated with diffuse pulmonary fibrosis has distinct morphologic characteristics that correlate histologically with a specific pattern of tumor growth.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed