The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 7, 2013
What is differential bronchioloalveolar cancer?
Charles B. Simone, II, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Penn Medicine, responds:
Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) is a subtype of adenocarcinoma of the lung. The term BAC, however, has been replaced since it was found to comprise at least five different types of lung cancer with different clinical and molecular properties. It became clear that certain forms of BAC were not invasive tumors, and these have now been renamed adenocarcinoma in situ (a pre-cancerous condition), whereas other types of BAC were found to be more aggressive and associated with worse clinical outcomes (such as the now renamed micropapillary adenocarcinoma). In general, though, BACs were distinguished from other adenocarcinomas in that BACs generally did not exhibit an invasive growth pattern, and they could present either as a solitary lesion or as a multicentric process (multiple patches of tumor in the lung). Specific treatment depends on the subtype of BAC and the stage of the tumor, but stage-by-stage, management and prognosis overall are similar to other types of non-small cell lung cancer.