Teratoma of the lung


A rare tumour consisting of tissue derived from more than one germ cell line. An extrapulmonary origin must be excluded.


Most cases occur between the ages of 10 and 40 years3.

Clinical features

Patients may present with fever4, haemoptysis, cough or pyothorax. They may expectorate hair5. Bronchopleural fistulae may develop.


The lesions occur most often in the upper lobes and are usually cystic and focally calcified3.

Macroscopic appearances

The lesions are usually cystic and multilocular: the cysts may communicate with the bronchi1.


Two thirds of cases are mature and benign, one third malignant3. Mature teratomas consist of cysts lined by squamous epithelium, resembling ovarian dermoids. Thymic1 and pancreatic tissue are common. Malignant elements consist of carcinoma or sarcoma, rarely other immature elements.



Differential diagnosis


Surgical excision.


Mature teratomas are benign and are cured by complete resection. Most malignant teratomas cannot be resected and cause death within six months.


0 Tumours of the Lung, Pleura, Thymus and Heart. WHO Classification of Tumours. IARC Press 2004.

1 Asano S, Hoshikawa Y, Yamane Y, et al. An intrapulmonary teratoma associated with bronchiectasia containing various kinds of primordium: a case report and review of the literature. Virchows Arch 2000; 436:384-8

2 Cagini L, Nicholson AG, Horwich A, et al. Thoracic metastasectomy for germ cell tumours: long term survival and prognostic factors. Ann Oncol 1998; 9:1185-91

3 Morgan DE, Sanders C, McElvein RB, et al. Intrapulmonary teratoma: a case report and review of the literature. J Thorac Imaging 1992; 7:70-7

4 Suzuki Y, Saiga T, Ozeki Y, et al. [Two cases of intrapulmonary teratoma]. Nippon Kyobu Geka Gakkai Zasshi 1993; 41:498-502

5 Ustun MO, Demircan A, Paksoy N, et al. A case of intrapulmonary teratoma presenting with hair expectoration. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1996; 44:271-3

This page last revised 20.6.2005.

©SMUHT/PW Bishop