Study design: To determine the long-term results after surgical treatment of bronchioloalveolar lung carcinoma (BALC) and to identify prognostic factors.
Patients and methods: A retrospective study of 70 patients (49 men, 21 women), mean age 61±10 years, was carried out. Their carcinomas were classified into three clinicopathologic types: nodular or tumoral, pneumonic, and diffuse types. All the diagnosed BALC cases were reviewed and were classified into histologic types: mucinous, nonmucinous (including fibrotic center), and mixed tumors. Univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out.
Results: The nodular or tumoral type was identified in 42 patients, pneumonic in 21, and diffuse in seven. Histologically, there were 36 mucinous, 25 nonmucinous, and nine mixed tumors. Resection was complete in 61 instances (87%) and incomplete in five. The 5-year survival rate was 34% in patients with curative resections. Five prognostic factors were identified by univariate analysis, but in multivariate analysis, only three factors remained significant: the absence of symptoms, the TNM stage, and completeness of resection. Thirty-six patients with curative resection (59%) developed recurrences (in the lung in 26 patients; mediastinal lymph nodes, four; distant metastases, nine). The frequency of recurrence was significantly greater in patients with pneumonic-type BALC than in nodular or tumoral types (p<0.01), and pulmonary recurrences were significantly more frequent in pneumonic than in tumoral types (p<0.02).
Conclusions: This study confirmed that the overall prognosis of BALC is not significantly different from that of the other non-small cell lung cancers. We found that the lungs are the predominant site of recurrence in BALC, especially in the pneumonic types. The complete surgical resection of localized BALC offers the best chances of long-term survival.