Primary pulmonary tumors in childhood: a review of 31 years' experience and the literature

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1992 Dec;14(4):222-32. doi: 10.1002/ppul.1950140405.


Primary pulmonary tumors are infrequent in childhood, therefore an accurate diagnosis and treatment is often delayed. We review the English language literature and report the clinical and pathological features of eight tumors arising in the lungs of pre-adolescent children, accessioned between 1960 and 1991 in the pathology department of a children's hospital in South Africa. The ratio of pulmonary primary tumors to secondary neoplasms and to non-neoplastic lesions of the lung examined during this period was 1:5:60. Over the last 31 years we received three plasma cell granulomas, two pleuro-pulmonary blastomas, a mucoepidermoid carcinoma, an endobronchial fibrosarcoma, and a hemangioma. All patients presented with cough unresponsive to medical treatment. The incidence and spread of primary lung tumors in children was similar to that reported from other centers. Plasma cell granuloma is the most common primary tumor in the lungs of children. Aggressive behavior is most frequently encountered with pleuro-pulmonary blastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, and because of their association with cystic lesions careful examination of lungs is required in such cases. Most other malignant neoplasms, such as muco-epidermoid carcinoma and primary fibrosarcoma, are usually of a low grade of malignancy. A decreasing incidence of bronchogenic carcinoma seems to be reported during the first two decades of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Carcinoma / ultrastructure
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fibrosarcoma / pathology
  • Hemangioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Plasma Cell Granuloma, Pulmonary / pathology*