Large-cell lung carcinoma

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Large-cell carcinoma

Large-cell carcinoma (LCC, LCLC) is a heterogeneous group of undifferentiated malignant neoplasms that lack the cytologic and architectural features of small cell carcinoma and glandular or squamous differentiation. LCC is categorized as a type of NSCLC (non-small-cell lung carcinoma) which originates from epithelial cells of the lung.


Patients typically present with a non-productive cough and weight loss.[citation needed]


LCC is, in effect, a "diagnosis of exclusion", in that the tumor cells lack light microscopic characteristics that would classify the neoplasm as a small-cell carcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, or other more specific histologic type of lung cancer.[citation needed]

LCC is differentiated from small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) primarily by the larger size of the anaplastic cells, a higher cytoplasmic-to-nuclear size ratio, and a lack of "salt-and-pepper" chromatin.[citation needed]


The newest revisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) "Histological Typing of Lung Cancer schema" include several variants of LCC, including:

Large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC)[edit]

One clinically significant subtype is "large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma" (LCNEC),[1] which is believed to derive from neuroendocrine cells.[2]

In addition, a "subvariant", called "combined large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma" (or c-LCNEC), is recognized under the new system. To be designated a c-LCNEC, the tumor must contain at least 10% LCNEC cells, in combination with at least 10% of other forms of NSCLC.

Pathology images[edit]


Pie chart showing incidence of large-cell lung cancer (shown in green at upper left) as compared to other lung cancer types, with fractions of smokers versus non-smokers shown for each type.[3]

In most series, LCLC's comprise between 5% and 10% of all lung cancers.[citation needed]

According to the Nurses' Health Study, the risk of large cell lung carcinoma increases with a previous history of tobacco smoking, with a previous smoking duration of 30 to 40 years giving a relative risk of approximately 2.3 compared to never-smokers, and a duration of more than 40 years giving a relative risk of approximately 3.6.[4]

Another study concluded that cigarette smoking is the predominant cause of large cell lung cancer. It estimated that the odds ratio associated with smoking two or more packs/day for current smokers is 37.0 in men and 72.9 in women.[5]

American comedian Andy Kaufman was a notable sufferer of the disease, which took his life in 1984.


  1. ^ Fernandez FG, Battafarano RJ (October 2006). "Large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung". Cancer Control. 13 (4): 270–275. doi:10.1177/107327480601300404. PMID 17075564.
  2. ^ Cotran RS, Kumar V, Fausto N, Robbins SL, Abbas AK (2005). Robbins and Cotran pathologic basis of disease. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier Saunders. p. 762. ISBN 978-0-7216-0187-8.
  3. ^ Smokers defined as current or former smoker of more than 1 year of duration. See image page in Commons for percentages in numbers. Reference:
  4. ^ Kenfield SA, Wei EK, Stampfer MJ, Rosner BA, Colditz GA (June 2008). "Comparison of aspects of smoking among the four histological types of lung cancer". Tobacco Control. 17 (3): 198–204. doi:10.1136/tc.2007.022582. PMC 3044470. PMID 18390646.
  5. ^ Muscat JE, Stellman SD, Zhang ZF, Neugut AI, Wynder EL (July 1997). "Cigarette smoking and large cell carcinoma of the lung". Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 6 (7): 477–480. PMID 9232332.

External links[edit]

  • [1]. World Health Organization Histological Classification of Lung and Pleural Tumours. 4th Edition.