Until recently the major clinical question was 'Is it small-cell or non small-cell cancer'. However, advances in conventional and targeted therapy have completely changed the landscape. Identification of the major non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) types (adenocarcinoma and squamous carcinoma) are important for a number of predictive and prognostic reasons, including pemetrexed treatment, anti-angiogenic therapy and administration of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Fortunately, advances in pathology of lung cancer have kept abreast, with newer, simplified methods to identify the major NSCLC types in small diagnostic samples, and modifications of the pathological classification of adenocarcinomas reflecting changing clinical and molecular concepts. For the patient to obtain maximum benefit from the recent developments in therapeutics, a multidisciplinary approach is required with co-operation between oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists.
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