Staging of non-small cell lung carcinoma associated with scar is not discussed in detail in the current American Joint Committee on Cancer staging manual. The recommendation is to include the scar area in the tumor size measurement unless the tumor represents a small focus at the edge of the scar. The aim of this study is to investigate if subtraction of the size of the central scar from the total gross size of surgically resected peripheral clinical stage I non-small cell lung carcinoma improves patient stratification into more accurate prognostic groups.
Hematoxylin and eosin sections of 148 non-small cell lung carcinomas (98 adenocarcinomas and 50 squamous cell carcinomas) were reviewed, including 44 adenocarcinomas and 9 squamous cell carcinomas with scar and 54 adenocarcinomas and 41 squamous cell carcinomas without scar. The microscopic size of the invasive tumor component was determined after the average percentage of scar tissue was subtracted from the grossly measured tumor diameter. Manual results were compared to digital image analysis.
Adenocarcinoma with scar were associated with better overall (80.5 % vs. 63.2 %, p = 0.026) and cancer specific survival (95.2 % vs. 73.3 %, p = 0.0053) when compared to adenocarcinoma without scar. Better cancer specific survival was observed in acinar and papillary predominant adenocarcinoma (95.8 % with scar vs. 67.8 % without scar, p = 0.01); while similar trend although not statistically significant was observed in adenocarcinomas with solid or micropapillary component. Using microscopic size, pathologic T stage was down-staged in 21 adenocarcinomas. Squamous cell carcinoma with or without scar did not show a difference in survival. Manual and quantitative image analysis showed strong correlation (r = 0.9769, p < 0.0001).
Our study suggests that microscopic size of the invasive component in acinar and papillary predominant adenocarcinoma with scar might be a better predictor of survival than the total gross size.

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