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Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Of the two main types of lung cancer, most (80-85%) are non-small cell.

Learn about about NSCLC

Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell (American Cancer Society)

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (National Cancer Institute)

Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell (National Library of Medicine)

Learn about the specific types of NSCLC

The 1999 World Health Organization/International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Histological Classification of Lung and Pleural Tumors identifies many types of lung cancer, however by far three types of NSCLC are most often diagnosed: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. Also sometimes seen is "undifferentiated" NSCLC but more precise categorizing is encouraged by experts in the field. Some lung tumors contain more than one type of lung cancer.


The most commonly diagnosed type of lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma makes up just over 30% of lung cancer diagnoses, begins in the cells that form the lining of the lungs and has gland-like properties. When lung cancer is diagnosed in never smokers, it is most often  adenocarcinoma.

What is lung adenocarcinoma? (College of American Pathologists)

Adenocarcinoma in situ and minimally invasive adenocarcinoma (formerly bronchioloalveolar carcinoma or BAC)
A rare (3% of diagnoses) type of adenocarcinoma that begins in the alveoli and was reclassified in 2011. For more information on the reclassification, see: 
Travis WD et al. 2011. International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer/American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society International Multidisciplinary Classification of Lung Adenocarcinoma. Journal of Thoracic Oncology 6:2, 244-282. 

Squamous cell carcinoma

Makes up just under 30% of lung cancer diagnoses and begins in the thin, flat cells that line the passages of the respiratory tract.

What is squamous cell lung cancer? (College of American Pathologists) 

Large cell neuroendocrine tumors

Makes up about 2% of lung cancer diagnoses and is the fastest growing type of NSCLC.

Neuroendocrine tumors (National Cancer Institute)

Non-small cell lung cancer with neuro-endocrine features (Oncolink)


See also:

Treatment of NSCLC