Different features of the various histologic types and subtypes of lung cancer
Adenocarcinoma is the subtype that occurs most frequently in nonsmokers, although the vast majority of adenocarcinomas occur in smokers. Adenocarcinomas tend to develop in the lung periphery. Squamous cell carcinoma is even more strongly associated with tobacco use, tends to develop centrally, and may cavitate.
Large cell carcinoma is a histologic diagnosis of exclusion among the subtypes of lung cancer, is strongly associated with tobacco use, and often manifests as a large peripheral lung mass. Small cell lung carcinoma usually arises centrally within the chest with extensive metastatic lymphadenopathy involving the hila and mediastinum and only rarely cavitates, but it may manifest in a more limited form in one hemithorax or as an SPN.