Skip to main content

19.03.2020 | Original Article Open Access

Prominent entrapment of respiratory epithelium in primary and metastatic intrapulmonary non-epithelial neoplasms: a frequent morphological pattern closely mimicking adenofibroma and other biphasic pulmonary lesions

Virchows Archiv
Ramona Erber, Florian Haller, Arndt Hartmann, Abbas Agaimy
Wichtige Hinweise

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


As one of the most common target organs for hematogenous spread from diverse cancers, biopsy interpretation of lung tumors is complicated by the challenging question of primary versus metastatic and by frequent entrapment of native respiratory glands. Nevertheless, the literature dealing with this issue is surprisingly sparse and no single study has been devoted to this topic. We reviewed 47 surgical lung specimens of non-epithelial neoplasms (38 metastases, mainly from sarcomas and 9 primary lesions) for frequency and pattern of intralesional epithelial entrapment. Respiratory epithelium entrapment was noted in 23/47 (49%) cases (diffuse in 15 and peripheral in 8). Entrapped glands frequently showed prominent regenerative and reactive changes mimicking neoplastic glands. Based on cellularity of the mesenchymal component and the extent, distribution and shape of entrapped respiratory glands, four morphological patterns were recognized: paucicellular sclerosing low-grade neoplasms containing leaflet-like glands indistinguishable from adenofibroma and fibroepithelial hamartomas (n = 11), and biphasic cellular lesions mimicking adenomyoepithelioma (n = 1), biphasic synovial sarcoma (n = 2), and pleuropulmonary blastoma (n = 1). Only a single genuine pulmonary adenofibroma was identified. This study highlights frequent respiratory epithelium entrapment in diverse non-epithelial lung tumors, both primary and metastatic. Recognition of this finding and use of adjunct IHC combined with clinical history should help to avoid misinterpretation as primary pulmonary biphasic neoplasm or as harmless adenofibroma. The vast majority of morphologically defined lung adenofibromas represent adenofibroma-like variants of histogenetically diverse entities so that a diagnosis of adenofibroma should be rendered only very restrictively and then as a diagnosis by exclusion.

Unsere Produktempfehlungen

e.Med Interdisziplinär


Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf

Jetzt e.Med zum Sonderpreis bestellen!

Sichern Sie sich jetzt Ihr e.Med-Abo und sparen Sie 50 %!

Über diesen Artikel