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Cancer of the Lung: From Molecular Biology to Treatment Guidelines
  1. P Hasleton

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    Weitberg AB, ed. ($125.00.) Humana Press, 2001. ISBN 096 03830 0.

    This book is “designed for oncologists with general interests who diagnose and treat patients with lung cancer”. It is divided into three parts—basic science and the evaluation of lung cancer, which includes molecular biology, and techniques for diagnosis, staging, and histology. The second and third parts are concerned with the treatment of non-small cell and small cell carcinoma, respectively. The reviewer cannot comment on these last two sections.

    The molecular biology was divided into two sections—a primer and a more detailed section— and there was obvious overlap between them. If the book was meant to appeal to physicians, a more liberal use of diagrams may have helped their understanding. In a rapidly moving field, and given that the book is supposed to be published in 2002 according to the copyright (I received my copy in November 2001), the references were up to date.

    The histology sections were based on the WHO recommendations (1999), but should have included the use of TTF-1 as a discriminator between primary and secondary lung tumours. Similarly, calretinin and cytokeratin 5/6 were not mentioned, or the elucidation of pleural adenocarcinoma versus mesothelioma. These authors also state that typical and atypical carcinoids may be associated with tumourlets—a rare occurrence.

    I found the chapter on the techniques for diagnosis one of the best and think that it should be mandatory for clinicians, although it would also be helpful for pathologists, particularly because we can spend hours looking at computed tomography guided transthoracic needle biopsies when the result rarely changes the subsequent clinical management.

    However, this book will have limited appeal for pathologists because it is covered in other texts (such as Brambilla and Brambilla) and does not consider technical aspects of molecular diagnosis.