Primary pulmonary neoplasms of childhood: a review

Ann Thorac Surg. 1983 Jul;36(1):108-19. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(10)60664-9.


Primary tumors of the lung rarely occur in children. However, 230 well-documented cases, including the 2 presented in this review, have been identified in the English-language literature. One hundred fifty-one tumors in these reports were classified as malignant lesions and 79 as benign neoplasms. Bronchial "adenomas" constituted the largest group; most of these lesions were of the carcinoid variety, and 8% were definitely malignant. Forty-seven cases of bronchogenic carcinoma were reported in children under 16 years of age, although there were few squamous cell tumors (12%). Fifty-six percent of the benign tumors were classified as inflammatory pseudotumor. Most of the children in this collective series were seen with symptoms related to bronchial irritation or obstruction, such as cough, hemoptysis, atelectasis, or pneumonitis. Respiratory distress was an unusual symptom that was often associated with large tumors seen in the neonatal period. Approximately 20% of the children were totally symptomatic. The limited survival data that are available indicate that leiomyosarcoma and mucoepidermoid carcinoma have a more favorable prognosis in children than in adults. Survival with bronchial carcinoid tumors (90%), bronchogenic carcinoma (30%), and pulmonary blastoma (45%) appears to parallel that for adults. The experience with pulmonary rhabdomyosarcoma, as described in this review, emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis and the use of combined modes of therapy in the approach to these malignancies. Despite the rarity of primary pulmonary neoplasms in children, this diagnosis should be considered in young patients with solitary pulmonary masses or persistent, atypical pulmonary symptoms. It is hoped that early diagnosis will result in an improved prognosis and prevent life-threatening complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / pathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fibroma / pathology
  • Hamartoma / pathology
  • Hemangiopericytoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms* / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Lymphoma / pathology
  • Male
  • Myxosarcoma / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Plasmacytoma / pathology
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / pathology
  • Teratoma / pathology