- The 2021 WHO Classification of Thoracic Tumours was published earlier this year, with classification of lung tumors being one of the chapters. The principles remain those of using morphology first, supported by immunohistochemistry, and then molecular techniques. In 2015, there was particular emphasis on using immunohistochemistry to make classification more accurate. In 2021, there is greater emphasis throughout the book on advances in molecular pathology across all tumor types. Major features within this edition are (1) broader emphasis on genetic testing than in the 2015 WHO Classification; (2) a section entirely dedicated to the classification of small diagnostic samples; (3) continued recommendation to document percentages of histologic patterns in invasive nonmucinous adenocarcinomas, with utilization of these features to apply a formal grading system, and using only invasive size for T-factor size determination in part lepidic nonmucinous lung adenocarcinomas as recommended by the eighth edition TNM classification; (4) recognition of spread through airspaces as a histologic feature with prognostic significance; (5) moving lymphoepithelial carcinoma to squamous cell carcinomas; (6) update on evolving concepts in lung neuroendocrine neoplasm classification; (7) recognition of bronchiolar adenoma/ciliated muconodular papillary tumor as a new entity within the adenoma subgroup; (8) recognition of thoracic SMARCA4-deficient undifferentiated tumor; and (9) inclusion of essential and desirable diagnostic criteria for each tumor.
- Since the 2015 WHO classification was introduced into clinical practice, immunohistochemistry (IHC) has figured prominently in lung cancer diagnosis. In addition to distinction of small cell versus non–small cell carcinoma, patients’ treatment of choice is directly linked to histologic subtypes of non–small cell carcinoma, which pertains to IHC results, particularly for poorly differentiated tumors. The use of IHC has improved diagnostic accuracy in the classification of lung carcinoma, but the interpretation of IHC results remains challenging in some instances.
- Multiple tumor nodules are seen with increasing frequency in clinical practice. On the basis of the 2015 WHO classification of lung tumors, we assessed the reproducibility of the comprehensive histologic assessment to distinguish second primary lung cancers (SPLCs) from intrapulmonary metastases (IPMs), looking for the most distinctive histologic features. An international panel of lung pathologists reviewed a scanned sequential cohort of 126 tumors from 48 patients and recorded an agreed set of histologic features, including tumor typing and predominant pattern of adenocarcinoma, thereby opining whether the case was SPLC, IPM, or a combination thereof.
- The current WHO classification of lung cancer states that a diagnosis of SCLC can be reliably made on routine histological and cytological grounds but immunohistochemistry (IHC) may be required, particularly (1) in cases in which histologic features are equivocal and (2) in cases in which the pathologist wants to increase confidence in diagnosis. However, reproducibility studies based on hematoxylin and eosin–stained slides alone for SCLC versus large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) have shown pairwise κ scores ranging from 0.35 to 0.81.
- The 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumors of the Lung, Pleura, Thymus and Heart has just been published with numerous important changes from the 2004 WHO classification. The most significant changes in this edition involve (1) use of immunohistochemistry throughout the classification, (2) a new emphasis on genetic studies, in particular, integration of molecular testing to help personalize treatment strategies for advanced lung cancer patients, (3) a new classification for small biopsies and cytology similar to that proposed in the 2011 Association for the Study of Lung Cancer/American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society classification, (4) a completely different approach to lung adenocarcinoma as proposed by the 2011 Association for the Study of Lung Cancer/American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society classification, (5) restricting the diagnosis of large cell carcinoma only to resected tumors that lack any clear morphologic or immunohistochemical differentiation with reclassification of the remaining former large cell carcinoma subtypes into different categories, (6) reclassifying squamous cell carcinomas into keratinizing, nonkeratinizing, and basaloid subtypes with the nonkeratinizing tumors requiring immunohistochemistry proof of squamous differentiation, (7) grouping of neuroendocrine tumors together in one category, (8) adding NUT carcinoma, (9) changing the term sclerosing hemangioma to sclerosing pneumocytoma, (10) changing the name hamartoma to “pulmonary hamartoma,” (11) creating a group of PEComatous tumors that include (a) lymphangioleiomyomatosis, (b) PEComa, benign (with clear cell tumor as a variant) and (c) PEComa, malignant, (12) introducing the entity pulmonary myxoid sarcoma with an EWSR1–CREB1 translocation, (13) adding the entities myoepithelioma and myoepithelial carcinomas, which can show EWSR1 gene rearrangements, (14) recognition of usefulness of WWTR1–CAMTA1 fusions in diagnosis of epithelioid hemangioendotheliomas, (15) adding Erdheim–Chester disease to the lymphoproliferative tumor, and (16) a group of tumors of ectopic origin to include germ cell tumors, intrapulmonary thymoma, melanoma and meningioma.
- The 2004 World Health Organization classification of lung cancer contained three major forms of non–small-cell lung cancer: squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC), adenocarcinoma (AdC), and large cell carcinoma. The goal of this study was first, to assess the reproducibility of a set of histopathological features for SqCC in relation to other poorly differentiated non–small-cell lung cancers and second, to assess the value of immunohistochemistry in improving the diagnosis.
- To establish evidence-based recommendations for the molecular analysis of lung cancers that are that are required to guide EGFR- and ALK-directed therapies, addressing which patients and samples should be tested, and when and how testing should be performed.