Mucinous (so-called colloid) carcinomas of lung.
We present 24 cases of primary mucinous (so-called colloid) carcinomas of the lung. The patients were between 33 and 81 yr old (median: 57 yr), including 15 men and nine women. The lesions were discovered incidentally on chest X-ray, where they presented in diverse forms. No predilection for a particular lobe or pulmonary segment was observed. The tumors varied from 0.5 to 10 cm in greatest diameter. Grossly, the tumors were poorly circumscribed, soft, tan-to-gray mucoid lesions. Microscopically, they showed intra-alveolar pools of mucin containing small clusters of atypical cells floating in the mucin, and foci of neoplastic columnar epithelium lining scattered alveoli. Seven cases showed areas of solid, well-differentiated malignant glands adjacent to pools of mucin. In two cases, lymph node metastases were found at surgery. Eleven (57%) of 19 patients were alive over a follow-up period ranging from 2 to 192 mo; one of them had metastases to bone and another had intrapulmonary recurrence. Eight patients died with/of their tumors, two of them with known metastases to bone and/or brain, and one with recurrence after 2 yr of initial diagnosis. No follow-up was obtained in five patients. Although the extent of clinical evaluation varied, no other primary neoplasms (i.e., breast, gastrointestinal tract, or other organs where primary mucinous carcinomas are known to occur) were observed. These tumors probably represent a variant of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma and share the prognosis of that neoplasm. However, because of their often bland cytologic features and paucity of malignant cells, they may be difficult to diagnose as neoplasms.