Research & Education

Contributions and Events


Landmark Events in Pathology


Contribution by the Pathology Committee

1970 to 1977: Oscar Aurbach et al. documents the significant decrease in the prevalence of bronchial epithelial aberrations related to smoking during 1955–1960 and 1970–1977. Ref

1971 to 1976: Cytology examination of exfoliated lung cancer cells can be accurately classified according to the histologic types diagnosed in resection specimens. Ref 1, Ref 2



1997: Establishment of WHO expert committee on lung cancer

1981: The WHO classification of small cell lung cancer is revised into 3 categories: small cell, mixed small and large cell, combined small cell carcnoma. Ref 1, Ref 2

1986: Several institutional and population-based studies report a changing incident pattern of histologic type of lung cancer during the 1970s, with an increase in adenocarcinoma type. Ref 1, Ref 2


1981: Second edition of WHO classification on lung cancer

1982: Official establishment of IASLC pathology panel

1992 to 1994: Dr. Elisabeth Brambilla et al. identifies basaloid carcinoma as a new subtype of non-small cell carcinoma with distinct histopathologic features and very poor prognosis, Ref 1, Ref 2 and is incorporated into the WHO classification. Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref 3

1995: Drs. Noguchi and Shimosato associate small (size: ≤2 cm) bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) without stromal invasion with 100% patient survival. Ref

1999: Park IW et al. provide molecular evidence for multistep and multicentric bronchial carcinogenesis. Ref


1994-98: Histological studies on lung neuroendocrine tumors and adenocarcinoma classifications

1999: Third edition of WHO classification on lung cancer

2004: Awareness increases among clinicians and pathologists on the importance of histologic typing of lung adenocarcinoma. Ref 1

2006: The FDA approves addition of bevacizumab to a platinum doublet, which requires distinction of squamous cell carcinoma from adenocarcinoma. Ref 1, Ref 2

2007 to 2010: The EML4-ALK gene fusion is discovered to be a lung cancer driver oncogene Ref 1 and subsequent clinical trials show that ALK rearranged lung cancers are tractable by specific kinase inhibitors. Ref 2, Ref 3

2008: The FDA approves Pemetrexed for adenocarcinoma. 


2004: WHO Book on pathology and genetics of tumors of lung, pleura, thymus and heart

2005: IASLC/ACSO Workshop on bronchioloaveolar carcinoma

2011: New lung adenocarcinoma classification is published based on predominant histologic pattern and association with clinical outcome. Ref

2014: The FDA approves Crizotinib for ROS1 fusion cancer. A number of ROS1 IHC has been reported for screening of ROS1 molecular testing. Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref 3, Ref 4, Ref 5, Ref 6, Ref 7

2015 to current: The FDA approves nivolumab and pembrolizumab in 2015 and 2017, respectively; although early results of immune checkpoint inhibitors have been reported since 2011. Ref 1, Ref 2 Accordingly, harmonization studies of PD-L1 IHC, including the Blueprint study Ref 1, Ref 2, become active.

2017: Liquid biopsy is introduced following FDA approval of Osimertinib for the resistant T790M mutation after first generation EGFR TKI treatment.


2011: IASCL/ATS/AMP guideline on EGFR and ALK Testing in lung cancer patients

2013: IASLC ATLAS of ALK testing in lung cancer

2015: Fourth edition of WHO classification on tumors of lung, pleura, thymus and heart