- 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.
- The Blueprint (BP) Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) Immunohistochemistry Comparability Project is a pivotal academic/professional society and industrial collaboration to assess the feasibility of harmonizing the clinical use of five independently developed commercial PD-L1 immunohistochemistry assays. The goal of BP phase 2 (BP2) was to validate the results obtained in BP phase 1 by using real-world clinical lung cancer samples.
- 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.