Actual growth rate and tumour cell proliferation in human pulmonary neoplasms

Br J Cancer. 1984 Sep;50(3):343-9. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1984.181.


Measurement of the Doubling Times [DT] for 27 human pulmonary neoplasms have been made. Squamous and large cell tumours had a wide range of values for DT whereas for small cell undifferentiated carcinoma, and possibly large cell undifferentiated carcinomata without stratification, the range was narrower. Mean DT for different primary bronchogenic carcinoma groups were: Squamous cell 146 days, Adenocarcinoma 72 days, Small cell 66 days, and Large Cell 111 days. The number of adenocarcinomata is very small in number and our value of 72 days is probably not representative of this group of tumours. Relationship between DT and tumour differentiation was difficult to identify in our series. Of these 27 a unique series of 17 have parallel data on DT and Potential Doubling Time (DTpot) and the Cell Loss Factor [0] calculated. Great discrepancy between DT and DTpot existed in each case and cell loss was high, ranging from 54% to 99%. All primary bronchogenic carcinomata had cell loss of greater than 70%; in almost two thirds of these cases the value was 90% or more. All undifferentiated tumours and a majority of poorly differentiated tumours had cell loss of 90% or more. As cell loss increased, tumour thymidine labelling index (TLI) increased and the tumours tended to be less well differentiated. The relationship, if any, between cell loss and DT was unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Culture Techniques
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Thymidine