Pulmonary adenocarcinoma: a renewed entity in 2011

Respirology. 2012 Jan;17(1):50-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.02095.x.


Lung cancer, of which non-small-cell lung cancer comprises the majority, is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and worldwide. Lung adenocarcinomas are a major subtype of non-small-cell lung cancers, are increasing in incidence globally in both males and females and in smokers and non-smokers, and are the cause for almost 50% of deaths attributable to lung cancer. Lung adenocarcinoma is a tumour with complex biology that we have recently started to understand with the advent of various histological, transcriptomic, genomic and proteomic technologies. However, the histological and molecular pathogenesis of this malignancy is still largely unknown. This review will describe advances in the molecular pathology of lung adenocarcinoma with emphasis on genomics and DNA alterations of this disease. Moreover, the review will discuss recognized lung adenocarcinoma preneoplastic lesions and current concepts of the early pathogenesis and progression of the disease. We will also portray the field cancerization phenomenon and lineage-specific oncogene expression pattern in lung cancer and how both remerging concepts can be exploited to increase our understanding of lung adenocarcinoma pathogenesis for subsequent development of biomarkers for early detection of adenocarcinomas and possibly personalized prevention.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Smoking* / adverse effects
  • Smoking* / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Nuclear Factor 1
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • United States / epidemiology
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • SOX2 protein, human
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Thyroid Nuclear Factor 1
  • Transcription Factors
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins