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Home > Asbestos related diseases > Lung cancer > Non-small cell lung cancer > Large cell lung cancer (carcinoma)


Large cell lung cancer (carcinoma)



If the carcinoma does not fit into the categories described above than it is large cell lung cancer. It can be often found in the smaller bronchi and it is usually associated with smoking. It is a cause of about 15% of lung cancer cases. The outlook for recovery from Large cell lung cancer is frequently unfavorable.

Carcinoid tumor and bronchioalveolar carcinoma are less common varieties of lung cancer. Bronchioalveolar carcinoma develops on the outer edges of the lungs around scars. Carcinoid tumors form in the glands near the bronchi.

The large cell lung cancer represents 10% to 20% of all tumors that start in the bronchi. Bronchi are the main branches of the trachea that lead to the lungs. Smoking is the most usual cause of this type of lung cancer.

At the time of diagnosis large cell tumors are usually full-grown and large. They are usually accompanied by tissue damage and extensive bleeding. The cells usually lack the specific architecture found in other types of cancer cells. That's why they are often are undifferentiated tumors. Two main distinctions of large cell carcinoma are quicker growing and metastasizing at an earlier stage.

Diagnosis of large cell carcinoma

Usually X-ray is used to diagnose large cell carcinoma. It manifests itself as a whitish or gray area. To determine the size, shape and location of the tumor other imaging studies can be used such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The results of these studies helps to find the best place to obtain a sample of the tumor that will allow understanding whether it is large cell carcinoma or some other types of lung cancer. This is necessary to assign the type of treatment patient should get.

Sputum cytology is another way to diagnose the tumor. During this procedure sputum (mucus from the lungs) is examined under a microscope. This examination helps to disclose abnormal cells. However, this technique is not effective if the cancer is located not near the center of the lung.

Prognosis of large cell carcinoma

As all lung cancers large cell carcinoma usually is diagnosed on late stages. Commonly only 16 % can overpass five-year survival threshold. It is common not only to large cell carcinoma but to all other non-small cell lung cancers. When cancers are detected and treated early the survival rate is up to 50%. For those with stage I disease the five-year survival rate after surgery is approximately 47%. The five-year survival rate is approximately 8% if the disease is stage III,.

Cancer can return even after successful surgery and other therapies are initially successful. The case of it is that these types of cancer readily spread to other parts of the body.

There are several uncommon variants of large cell carcinoma, including basaloid carcinoma, LCNEC, large cell carcinoma with rhabdoid phenotype, lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma and clear cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinomas may also have a basaloid pattern. Basaloid carcinoma can also be a variant of squamous cell carcinoma.

Prevention of large cell carcinoma

Tobacco smoke is the main risk factor either for large cell lung cancer or other types of lung cancer. So it is essential to quit smoking as soon as possible and also to avoid secondhand smoke. Unfortunately no test has been proven effective to diagnose lung cancer on early stages

Treatment of large cell carcinoma

The primary treatment for large cell carcinoma without metastasis is surgery. Depending on the stage of cancer it might be required to remove a small section of the lung or one lobe of the lung or the entire lung. Surgery is usually accompanied by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It can help to prevent the cancer from returning.

In case of tumor spread, chemotherapy drugs may be prescribed to slow cancer growth even if it cannot be cured. Unfortunately, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is not so efficient in case of large cell carcinoma as in cases of other types of tumors.

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