Association between Congenital Lung Malformations and Lung Tumors in Children and Adults: A Systematic Review

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The appropriate management of asymptomatic congenital pulmonary malformations (CPMs) remains controversial. Prophylactic surgery is recommended to avoid the risk for development of pulmonary infections and to prevent the highly debated development of malignancy. However, the true risk for development of malignancy remains unknown. A systematic review analyzed all cases in which lung tumors associated with CPMs in both the pediatric and adult populations were described.


A comprehensive literature search was carried out; it included all the cases in which an association between CPMs and malignant pulmonary lesions was reported.


In all, 134 publications were eligible for inclusion. In 168 patients CPM was found associated with lung tumor. The diagnosis was made in 76 children at a mean age of 3.68 ± 3.4, whereas in the adult population (n = 92) it was made at a mean age of 44.62 ± 16.09. Cough was the most frequent presenting symptom both in children and in adults. Most of the patients underwent lobectomy. The tumor most often associated with CPM was pleuropulmonary bastoma in children (n = 31) and adenocarcinoma (n = 20) or bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (n = 20) in adults. The CPM most frequenty associated with tumors in children was congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (n = 37), especially type 1 (n = 21), whereas in adults it was bronchogenic cyst (n = 25), followed by congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (n = 21).


CPMs should be followed up and never underestimated because they may conceal a tumor. Apparently, there is no age limit for malignant progression of CPMs and no limit of the interval between first detection of the CPM and appearance of the associated tumor.

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