Molecular Pathology of Lung Cancers



Lung carcinomas are among the most common and deadly tumors worldwide. Historically, lung tumors have been treated with a combination of surgery and or chemoradiotherapy with minimal impact on survival in the large numbers of patients who present with advanced stage disease. Microscopic classification of lung cancers beyond separation of small cell carcinomas from “nonsmall cell” carcinomas has been unable to successfully stratify lung cancer patients into distinct treatment groups. However, in the last decade, a number of breakthroughs in our understanding of the molecular genetics of lung cancer have led to the advent of “targeted therapy” with response of selected tumors to certain kinase inhibitors and dramatically improved progression-free survival for patients with these cancers. This chapter will present the established molecular subtypes of lung cancers for which targeted therapies are part of clinical practice (EGFR-mutant adenocarcinoma, ALK-rearranged adenocarcinoma), as well as emerging subtypes characterized by different genetic alterations that are currently the focus of clinical therapeutic trials.


Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Lung Adenocarcinoma KRAS Mutation Small Cell Carcinoma PIK3CA Mutation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgical Pathology and Center for Advanced Molecular DiagnosticsBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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