From histological and biological perspectives, lung cancer is a complex neoplasm. Although the sequential preneoplastic changes have been defined for centrally arising squamous carcinomas of the lung, they have been poorly documented for the other major forms of lung cancers, including small cell lung carcinoma and adenocarcinomas. There are three main morphologic forms of preneoplastic lesions recognized in the lung: squamous dysplasias, atypical adenomatous hyperplasia, and diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia. However, these lesions account for the development of only a subset of lung cancers. Several studies have provided information regarding the molecular characterization of lung preneoplastic changes, especially for squamous cell carcinoma. These molecular changes have been detected in the histologically normal and abnormal respiratory epithelium of smokers. Two different molecular pathways have been detected in lung adenocarcinoma pathogenesis: smoking-associated activation of RAS signaling, and nonsmoking-associated activation of EGFR signaling; the latter is detected in histologically normal respiratory epithelium.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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