Conflicting or complementary role of computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET)/CT in the assessment of thymic cancer and thymoma: Our experience and literature review

Elena Scagliori, Laura Evangelista, Annalori Panunzio, Fiorella Calabrese, Nazarena Nannini, Roberta Polverosi, Fabio Pomerri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: To evaluate the role of computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET)/CT in patients with thymic cancer and thymoma at initial staging. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed CT and PET/CT scans of 26 patients with a thymic cancer (n = 9) or thymoma (n = 17). Chest CT findings documented were qualitative and quantitative. Both qualitative and semiquantitative data were recovered by PET/CT. The comparisons among histological entities, outcome, and qualitative data from CT and PET/CT were made by non-parametric analysis. Results: PET/CT resulted positive in 15/17 patients with thymoma. CT was available in 5/9 (56%) patients with thymic cancer and in 3/17 with thymoma. All quantitative CT parameters were significantly higher in patients with thymic cancer than thymoma (maximum axial diameter: 45 vs. 20mm, maximum longitudinal diameter: 69 vs. 21mm and volume: 77.91 vs. 4.52mL; all P <0.05). Conversely, only metabolic tumor volume (MTV) and total lesion glycolysis were significantly different in patients with thymic cancer than thymoma (126.53 vs. 6.03cm3 and 246.05 vs. 20.32, respectively; both P <0.05). After a median follow-up time of 17.45 months, four recurrences of disease occurred: three in patients with thymic cancer and one with a type B2 thymoma. CT volume in patients with recurrent disease was 102.19mL versus a median value of 62.5mL in six disease-free patients. MTV was higher in the recurrent than disease-free patient subset (143.3 vs. 81.13cm3), although not statistically significant (P = 0.075). Conclusion: Our preliminary results demonstrated that both morphological and metabolic volume could be useful from a diagnostic and prognostic point of view in thymic cancer and thymoma patients. A large multi-center clinical trial experience for confirming the findings of this study seems mandatory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-442
Number of pages10
JournalThoracic Cancer
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015

Keywords

  • Computed tomography
  • PET/CT
  • Prognosis
  • Thymic cancer
  • Thymoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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