Lung cancer: developments, concepts, and specific aspects of the new WHO classification

  • Iver Petersen
  • Arne Warth
Review – Cancer Research



Diagnostic methods and algorithms for the diagnosis of pulmonary neoplasms have considerably changed over the recent years. Based on large-scale molecular characterization studies and the development of targeted therapies, precise morphological, immunohistochemical, and molecular pathological tumor subtyping is now of utmost importance for evidence-based treatment decisions. Changes of diagnostic concepts initially referred to biopsies and cytology specimens but are now also transferred to resection specimens.


This review is focused on recent developments in morphological and immunohistochemical subtyping of pulmonary neoplasms and concepts of tumor progression. It also provides perspectives on relevant changes of diagnostic concepts within the context of the new WHO classification.


It becomes apparent that a three-step diagnostic concept based on morphology, immunohistochemistry, and molecular pathology is important to meet the requirements of an increasingly more complex, interdisciplinary care of lung cancer patients and to allow for reliable, clinically meaningful tumor diagnoses.


Lung cancer Diagnosis Classification Immunohistochemistry Molecular pathology 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PathologyUniversity Hospital JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PathologyUniversity Hospital HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.Translational Lung Research Center HeidelbergMember of the German Center for Lung ResearchHeidelbergGermany

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