Implementing the new IASLC/ATS/ERS classification of lung adenocarcinomas: results from international and Chinese cohorts
A new histologic classification of lung adenocarcinoma was proposed by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, American Thoracic Society, and European Respiratory Society (IASLC/ATS/ERS) in 2011 to provide uniform terminology and diagnostic criteria for multidisciplinary strategic management. This classification proposed a comprehensive histologic subtyping (lepidic, acinar, papillary, micropapillary, and solid pattern) and a semi-quantitative assessment of histologic patterns (in 5% increments) in an effort to choose a single, predominant pattern in invasive adenocarcinomas. The prognostic value of this classification has been validated in large, independent cohorts from multiple countries. In patients who underwent curative-intent surgery, those with either an adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) or a minimal invasive adenocarcinoma have nearly 100% disease-free survival and are designated “low grade tumors”. For invasive adenocarcinomas, the acinar and papillary predominant histologic subtypes were usually designated as “intermediate grade” while the solid and micropapillary predominant histologic subtypes were designated “high grade” tumors; this was based on the statistic difference of overall survival. This classification, coupled with additional prognostic factors [nuclear grade, cribriform pattern, high Ki-67 labeling index, thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1) immunohistochemistry, immune markers, and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake on positron emission tomography (PET)] that we have published on, could further stratify patients into prognostic subgroups and may prove helpful for individual patient care. With regard to Chinese oncologists, the implementation of this new classification only requires hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained slides and basic pathologic training, both of which require no additional costs. More importantly, this new classification system could provide informative data for better selection and stratification of clinical trials and molecular studies.