lung cancer airways dreamstime 10333709 400A new study published in the December 2014 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology supports the theory that lung cancer, particularly adenocarcinoma, may spread through the airways.

“Cumulative evidence suggests that intrapulmonary aerogenous spread may exist and is underrecognized,” say the Canadian authors of “Aerogenous Metastases: A Potential Game Changer in the Diagnosis and Management of Primary Lung Adenocarcinoma.” “Aerogenous metastases must be differentiated from multiple synchronous lesions in the spectrum of lung adenocarcinoma, [and] imaging features are helpful in differentiating possible aerogenous spread of tumor.” The research team is based in Canada.

The findings could pose major implications for the understanding of lung cancer, which holds a reputation as the most common and most deadly cancer worldwide. The 5-year survival rate currently stands at 6 to 18%, with adenocarcinoma accounting for 30% of all cases of lung cancer. Intrapulmonary metastasis most often occurs through hematogenous spread, or through the blood. Although local venous spread can occur, systemic spread with secondary lung involvement is much more common.

The article is available for download on the American Journal of Roentgenology website.