Short review

memo - Magazine of European Medical Oncology

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 4-9

First online:

Large cell carcinoma of the lung – a vanishing entity?

  • H. H. PopperAffiliated withResearch Unit Molecular Lung and Pleura Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Graz Email author 

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There are four major types of lung carcinomas, small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinomas (LC) [1]. Since the mid nineties the incidence of adenocarcinomas has increased; whereas squamous and small cell carcinomas have decreased dramatically [2, 3]. LC, however, remained constant at about 10–12% of all lung carcinomas. However, LC should not be mixed with large cell carcinoma variants including large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, clear cell carcinoma, rhabdoid large cell carcinoma, basaloid, and lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma, respectively. Whereas a lot of published data do exist for the LC variants, only few studies have investigated LC itself. Due to an increased use of differentiation markers in the diagnostic practice LC seems to decrease in frequency, and might even vanish. This review will try to explain the problems of LC diagnosis, the false use of this diagnosis, and reasons why LC is becoming a rare entity.


Large cell carcinoma Immunohistochemistry Differentiation markers Targeted therapy Large cell carcinoma variants