Correlation between morphology and EGFR mutations in lung adenocarcinomas Significance of the micropapillary pattern and the hobnail cell type

Lung Cancer. 2009 Feb;63(2):235-40. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2008.04.017. Epub 2008 Jun 20.


The presence of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase (TK) mutations significantly correlates with tumor sensitivity to TK inhibitors, particularly in lung adenocarcinomas, the predominant histological subtype in Japan and the United States. To clarify links between EGFR mutations and pathological findings in Japanese lung cancer, detailed pathological features of adenocarcinomas were examined using the WHO criteria as well as our cell type classification (hobnail, columnar and polygonal). Medical records were reviewed for a total of 107 surgically resected tumors. Clinicopathological factors were examined and correlations with EGFR status were evaluated. EGFR mutations were found in 63 patients (59%) distributed through all four exons examined (through exons 18-21). EGFR mutations were significantly associated with female gender (P=0.003), non-smoker status (P=0.008) and hobnail cell morphology (P<0.00001). In addition, detailed pathological examination showed significant associations with bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) component and a micropapillary pattern (MPP) (P=0.012 and 0.043, respectively). We conclude that characteristic histological features, i.e. the hobnail cell morphology and the presence of BAC component and MPP are good predictors of EGFR mutations in lung adenocarcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*


  • ErbB Receptors