Non–Small Cell Carcinoma of the Lung With Osteoclast-Like Giant Cells

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Abstract

Carcinomas of the lung with benign osteoclast-like giant cells are rare. A literature search showed only 8 previously reported examples. These tumors resemble a giant cell tumor of bone. Many of these tumors, which occur in most epithelium-containing organs, are composed of an undifferentiated, sarcomatoid component that contains benign osteoclast-like giant cells and a conventional carcinoma. In some tumors the epithelial origin may be revealed by immunohistochemistry only; others lack any evidence of an epithelial component. A 59-year-old man had an inoperable tumor in the upper lobe of the left lung. The tumor did not respond to radiation therapy, and chemotherapy resulted in minimal relief of symptoms. Light microscopy of biopsy samples showed benign osteoclast-like giant cells distributed irregularly between proliferations of undifferentiated medium-sized tumor cells. Approximately one third of the undifferentiated tumor cells were cytokeratin AE1/AE3-positive, and a minor alveolar clear cell component of the tumor was cytokeratin 7-positive. The osteoclast-like giant cells were strongly CD68-positive. The clinical and histologic findings supported the diagnosis of a non–small cell carcinoma of the lung with benign osteoclast-like giant cells. The differential diagnosis is composed of giant cell carcinoma, carcinosarcoma, and mesenchymal tumors of the lung.

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