Molecular Testing in Multiple Synchronous Lung Adenocarcinomas: Case Report and Literature Review

O. C. Rafael
R. Lazzaro, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
A. Hasanovic, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine


Discovery of driver mutations in pulmonary adenocarcinoma has revolutionized the field of thoracic oncology with major impact on therapy and diagnosis. Testing for EGFR, ALK, and KRAS mutations has become part of everyday practice. We report a case with multiple synchronous primary pulmonary adenocarcinomas in a 72-year-old female with previous history of smoking. The patient presented with cough and bilateral lung ground glass opacities. A positron emission tomography/computed tomography scan showed no activity in mediastinal lymph nodes. She underwent a left upper lobe biopsy and a right upper lobe wedge resection. Pathology revealed 4 morphologically distinct adenocarcinoma foci, suggestive of synchronous primary lung tumors. Molecular testing demonstrated no mutation in the left tumor. Three different driver mutations were present in the right lung tumors: KRAS codon 12 G12D and G12V and EGFR exon 21 L858R mutation, confirming the initial histologic impression. Subsequently, left upper lobe lobectomy showed 3 additional foci of adenocarcinoma with different morphologies, suggestive of synchronous primaries as well. No additional molecular testing was performed. Synchronous pulmonary adenocarcinomas are not uncommon; however, 4 or more synchronous tumors are rare. Distinguishing multiple primary tumors from intrapulmonary metastases is a common problem in thoracic oncology with major implications for staging, prognosis, and treatment. Lung adenocarcinoma subclassification based on predominant and coexisting histologic patterns can greatly facilitate differentiation between intrapulmonary metastases and multiple synchronous tumors. Use of molecular profiling is recommended since it further increases confidence in the diagnostic workup of multiple pulmonary adenocarcinomas and helps guiding therapy.