IASLC/ATS/ERS International Multidisciplinary Classification of Lung Adenocarcinoma: Novel Concepts and Radiologic Implications

Authors: Lee, Hyun-Ju MD*; Lee, Chang Hun MD ; Jeong, Yeon Joo MD‡; Chung, Doo Hyun MD§; Goo, Jin Mo MD*; Park, Chang Min MD*; Austin, John H.M. MD

In 2011, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, American Thoracic Society, and European Respiratory Society proposed a new classification for lung adenocarcinoma that included a number of changes to previous classifications. This classification now considers resection specimens, small biopsies, and cytology specimens. Two former histopathologic terms, bronchioloalveolar carcinoma and mixed subtype adenocarcinoma, are no longer to be used. For resection specimens, the new terms of adenocarcinoma in situ and minimally invasive adenocarcinoma are introduced for small adenocarcinomas showing pure lepidic growth and predominantly lepidic growth, with invasion ≤5 mm, respectively. Invasive adenocarcinomas are now classified by their predominant pattern as lepidic, acinar, papillary, and solid; a micropapillary pattern is newly added. This classification also provides guidance for small biopsies and cytology specimens. For adenocarcinomas that include both an invasive and a lepidic component, it is suggested that for T staging the size of the T-factor may be best measured on the basis of the size of the invasive component rather than on the total size of tumors including lepidic components, both on pathologic and computed tomography assessment. This suggestion awaits confirmation in clinical-radiologic trials. An implication for M staging is that comprehensive histologic subtyping along with other histologic and molecular features can be very helpful in determining whether multiple pulmonary nodules are separate primaries or intrapulmonary metastases. In this review article, we provide an illustrated overview of the proposed new classification for lung adenocarcinoma with an emphasis upon what the radiologist needs to know in order to successfully contribute to the multidisciplinary strategic management of patients with this common histologic subtype of lung cancer.