Pathology Insights

Review: sarcoidosis and Lung Cancer

Hans Schweisfurth


Sarcoidosis is a multisystemic disorder of unknown origin which is characterized by non- caseating epithelioid cell granulomas with giant cells mainly in the lung. The average incidence is worldwide 16 (male) and 19 (female) per 100,000 inhabitants. In some studies it was described that patients with sarcoidosis have a higher risk of malignancies, especially of lung cancer. The results differ in the available studies. The role of smoking can probably be neglected as far as the development of lung cancer is concerned, because the patients with sarcoidosis are mainly non smokers. Regarding all of the published clinical studies with totally 22,439 patients with sarcoidosis, a coexistence of sarcoidosis and lung cancer was detected only in 0.7 % of the patients. According to the published case reports, mostly squamous lung cell carcinoma was histologically found, followed by adenocarcinoma. These results indicate that the coexistence of sarcoidosis and lung cancer is very rare.


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