PULMONARY lymphangitic carcinoma is generally regarded as a diffuse permeation of pulmonary and pleural lymphatics resulting in a characteristic, clinical, radiological, and pathological appearance (Fig 1). It is a disease process generally regarded as uniformly fatal soon after a diagnosis is made. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the above concepts were correct, based on a retrospective study of the natural history of the disease.
The main method in diagnosing lymphangitic carcinoma consists in obtaining a characteristic radiological picture. Since pathological proof of the diagnosis in the living is usually lacking, a decision was made to study carefully the lungs of a uniform group of patients who are known to have a relatively high incidence of lymphangitic carcinoma.
There were 365 consecutive autopsies performed from Jan 1, 1960, to Dec 31, 1964, on all patients who died from breast carcinoma at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. All