What is Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma (BAC)?

Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma - NonmucinousA distinct form of lung adenocarcinoma (cancer that develops on the inner surface or inner lining of an organ),

Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma (BAC),

presents a pneumonia-like appearance on the chest X-ray. A rare and malignant (severe and progressively worsening tumor) form of lung cancer, it mainly grows peripherally (outer edges) along the alveolar septa (alveoli – tiny air sacs in the lung, septa – walls that separate alveoli). The tumors may appear as single or multiple nodules affecting a single or multiple lobes of the lung.

The growth pattern of the cancer is described as non-invasive and non-destructive along the alveolar walls or lepidic growth pattern which means the underlying alveolar architecture is unaffected by the spread of the cancer along the walls of alveoli. Constituting 1-9% of all the lung tumors, it usually affects non-smoking population, Asians and women.

Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma (BAC)

is categorized into 3 subtypes, namely, mucinous, nonmucinous and mixed.

  • Mucinous –

    This sub-type consists of mucin-producing, high columnar cells in large numbers. They usually spread through the airways in such a way that one or more lung lobes are severely affected. Mucus accumulation gives a pneumonia-like glistening appearance on the chest X-ray.

  • Nonmucinous –

    Affecting majority of the people, the tumor cells in this sub-type usually produce very little or no mucin and they are low columnar and cuboidal in shape. It also spreads through the airways but to a lesser degree when compared to the mucinous sub-type.

  • Mixed –

    This type can be easily recognized as it is characterized by the presence of a central sclerotic (hardening or thickening of the cells) area.

All these 3 sub-types spread uniformly along the alveolar walls.

Diagnosis of this lung carcinoma is usually confirmed by examining the CT scans of the patients which contain peripheral nodules (cell aggregations) that may be surrounded by a halo of ground glass opacity (fried egg sign).

In most of the cases surgical intervention is required to remove the cancer. But the prognosis (outcome of the disease) is very poor. Due to high recurrence rates of

Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma,

the mortality rate is also very high.

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