Is a Spiculated Lung Mass Indicative of Lung Cancer?

A spiculated lesion is a lung mass that contains linear strands that extend into the tissue of the lung but not into the pleural margin. It is consistent with a diagnosis of lung cancer, Cancer Network explains.

In a study that assessed 96 primary lung nodules using computerized tomography, spiculation was seen in 90 percent of primary lung carcinomas, Cancer Network reports. However, five of 11 benign lesions were spiculated as well. Thus, spiculation is suggestive of a primary carcinoma of the lung, but it is not diagnostic of the disease.

Over 95 percent of all primary lung tumors are carcinomas, states Cancer Network. These are subdivided into four subtypes: squamous cell carcinoma, small-cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large-cell carcinoma. All of these except small-cell carcinoma are categorized as nonsmall-cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease. Small-cell cancers, or oat-cell tumors, account for 10 to 15 percent, while carcinoid tumors account for the other 5 percent.

The prognosis for lung cancer depends largely on the stage of the disease at the time it was diagnosed, the American Cancer Society explains. Statistics from 2007, which are based on five-year survival rates of people diagnosed between 1998 and 2000, indicate that 49 percent of people with nonsmall-cell lung tumors whose cancer was in the earliest stage at the time of diagnosis survived at least five years. Only 1 percent of those whose disease was extremely advanced at diagnosis survived five years or more.