Primary lung adenocarcinoma consists of a spectrum of clinical and pathological subtypes that may impact on overall survival (OS). Our study aims to evaluate the impact of adenocarcinoma subtype and intra-alveolar spread on survival after anatomical lung resection and identify different prognostic factors based on stage and histological subtype. Newly diagnosed patients undergoing anatomical lung resections without induction therapy, for pT1-3, N0-2 lung adenocarcinoma from April 2011 to March 2013, were included. The effect of clinical-pathological factors on survival was retrospectively assessed. Two hundred and sixty-two patients were enrolled. The 1-year, 3-year and 5-year OS were 88.8%, 64.3% and 51.1%, respectively. Univariate analysis showed lymphovascular, parietal pleural and chest wall invasion to confer a worse 1-year and 5-year prognosis (all p<0.0001). Solid predominant adenocarcinomas exhibited a significantly worse OS (p=0.014). Multivariate analysis did not identify solid subtype as an independent prognostic factor; however, identified stage >IIa, lymphovascular invasion (p=0.002) and intra-alveolar spread (p=0.009) as significant independent predictors of worse OS. Co-presence of intra-alveolar spread and solid predominance significantly reduced OS. Disease-free survival (DFS) was reduced with parietal pleural (p=0.0007) and chest wall invasion (p<0.0001), however, adenocarcinoma subtype had no significant impact on DFS. Our study demonstrates that solid predominant adenocarcinoma, intra-alveolar spread and lymphovascular invasion confer a worse prognosis and should be used as a prognostic tool to determine appropriate adjuvant treatment. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.