Very Confused Adenocarcinoma Lung - 1257665

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 06:38

I'm very confused - I am a 49 yo female, smoker, who was diagnosed about a month ago with adenocarcinoma lung. It was actually found in 5 tumors in my brain, and PET scan showed carinal lymph node involvement. At this point, I have had no issues with my lungs, and my PFT is good as well. I cannot find any information like this case, seems that they all have the lung cancer first. I am looking for any information on this.
Thank you

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Hello leaschnell, I very sorry you're in this confusing position without proper info. Actually it isn't that rare that metastases are found without a primary lung tumor. Dr. West describe it here, "It sounds like a reasonable thing to do. When there is no identified primary cancer and the nodal pattern is suggestive of a primary lung cancer, it’s reasonable to proceed with treating the case as a lung cancer, using the specific agents as guided by the histologic subtype (adenocarcinoma vs. squamous, etc.)."

I will ask a doctor to reply with any further comment. Please keep us posted on how you fare.

BTW, if you would like more info on what others have encountered with no primary tumors us our search engine to search no primary tumor. You may need to log off to get the results depending on your browser.

All best,

Dr West

It's really as Janine noted -- brain metastases are very commonly from lung cancer, so when brain metastases are seen and there's findings on imaging that look as if there's cancer in the chest, it's usually going to be the case that it's a lung cancer that has spread to the brain. Presumably, a biopsy was taken, which is why you're saying you have adenocarcinoma lung. So if there's adenocarcinoma cells that have proteins typical for cells from the lung, it's a lung cancer. If the biopsy is taken from tumor or nodes in the chest and there's brain metastases, it's pretty clear that the picture is of lung cancer that spread to the brain. The same is also true if the biopsy is from brain metastases that show cancer cells that have proteins characterizing cells from the lung.

As Janine noted, most people with metastatic lung cancer are first diagnosed when they have cancer that has already spread from the lung. I'm afraid that's what your situation is: your diagnosis came after it had already spread to the brain.

There's plenty of information here, so we'll be happy to help you find information to help you understand the general treatment approaches in this setting.

Good luck.

-Dr. West


Thank you so much for your prompt replies, I will continue my search! I am very much a quality over quantity type of person, and would love to find "real people" stories over statistics. I have lived with a myriad of autoimmunes for many years (mainly Sjogren's and Fibro), and the break I am getting from that with the Decadron is actually a great thing! My 74 yo father just finished his radiation last week for the same adeno. His didn't go brain, it went liver, but he has done great with his treatment and now we wait for his next scan.