Pulmonary mucoepidermoid carcinoma: diagnosis and treatment

Expert Rev Respir Med. 2018 Mar;12(3):249-255. doi: 10.1080/17476348.2018.1428563. Epub 2018 Jan 17.


Primary mucoepidermoid carcinomas (MEC) of the lung are rare and represent a diagnostic challenge. MEC in the lung is under the umbrella of primary salivary gland type tumors of the lung. Areas covered: In general, salivary gland type tumors are represented by malignant neoplasms that may range from low to intermediate to high-grade type of malignancy sharing similar histopathological features as those in salivary glands. The focus in this review will be on one tumor in particular - mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Clinical, radiological, histopathological, and molecular diagnostic features will be highlighted in order to provide an insight on this unusual tumor in the lung. In addition, the treatment of these tumors will be discussed. Expert commentary: It is important to stress that in the majority of cases, the proper use of histopathological assessment is the most important step in arriving at an accurate diagnosis. It is also important to recognized that there are other unusual primary tumoral conditions of the lung, which may pose a significant challenge in the differential diagnosis. The importance of proper recognition of mucoepidermoid carcinoma and its grading will be highlighted in order to assess clinical outcome.

Keywords: Lung; carcinoma; mucoepidermoid; salivary gland; thorax.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid / therapy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*