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Primary lung cancer in children and adolescents.

PURPOSE: Primary lung cancer is extremely rare in children and adolescents. The aim of this study is to clarify clinical features and outcomes of primary lung cancer in children and adolescents.

METHODS: Young patients (aged ≤ 20 years) diagnosed as primary lung cancer between 2012 and 2023 were retrospective reviewed. According to radiological appearance of the nodules, they were divided into solid nodule (SN) group and ground glass opacity (GGO) group.

RESULTS: A total of 74 patients were identified, with a median age at diagnosis of 18 years old (range: 11-20), including 7 patients in SN group and 67 patients in GGO group. In the GGO group, none of the nodules enlarged or changed during an average surveillance period of 10.8 months before surgery, except one. Wedge resection was the most common procedure (82.1%), followed by segmentectomy (16.4%) and lobectomy (1.5%). Histopathological analysis revealed that 64.2% of GGO nodules were adenocarcinoma in situ and minimally invasive adenocarcinomas, while the remaining 35.8% were invasive adenocarcinomas. Mutational analysis was performed in nine patients, with mutations identified in all cases. After a mean follow-up period of 1.73 ± 1.62 years, two patients in the SN group died due to multiple distant metastases, while all patients in the GGO group survived without recurrence. The overall survival (100%) of the GGO group was significantly higher than SN group (66.7%).

CONCLUSIONS: Primary lung cancer in children and adolescents are rare and histopathological heterogeneous. Persistent GGO nodules may indicate early-stage lung adenocarcinoma in children and adolescents.

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