BACKGROUND: The incidence of lung cancer is increased in patients with bullous emphysema. METHODS: A series of 95 patients undergoing excision of bullous lung tissue was reviewed to determine the incidence and long term outcome of occult carcinoma present in the resected material. RESULTS: Four patients (4.2%) had peripheral foci of large cell carcinoma in the resection specimen (three bullectomies and one lobectomy). CONCLUSIONS: Resected bullous lung tissue should be carefully examined for areas of bronchogenic carcinoma. The results of incidental complete excision are favourable.
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