Difficulties encountered managing nodules detected during a computed tomography lung cancer screening program

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Abstract

Objective: The main challenge of screening a healthy population with low-dose computed tomography is to balance the excessive use of diagnostic procedures with the risk of delayed cancer detection. We evaluated the pitfalls, difficulties, and sources of mistakes in the management of lung nodules detected in volunteers in the Cosmos single-center screening trial. Methods: A total of 5201 asymptomatic high-risk volunteers underwent screening with multidetector low-dose computed tomography. Nodules detected at baseline or new nodules at annual screening received repeat low-dose computed tomography at 1 year if less than 5 mm, repeat low-dose computed tomography 3 to 6 months later if between 5 and 8 mm, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography if more than 8 mm. Growing nodules at the annual screening received low-dose computed tomography at 6 months and computed tomography-positron emission tomography or surgical biopsy according to doubling time, type, and size. Results: During the first year of screening, 106 patients underwent lung biopsy and 91 lung cancers were identified (70% were stage I). Diagnosis was delayed (false-negative) in 6 patients (stage IIB in 1 patient, stage IIIA in 3 patients, and stage IV in 2 patients), including 2 small cell cancers and 1 central lesion. Surgical biopsy revealed benign disease (false-positives) in 15 cases (14%). Positron emission tomography sensitivity was 88% for prevalent cancers and 70% for cancers diagnosed after first annual screening. No needle biopsy procedures were performed in this cohort of patients. Conclusion: Low-dose computed tomography screening is effective for the early detection of lung cancers, but nodule management remains a challenge. Computed tomography-positron emission tomography is useful at baseline, but its sensitivity decreases significantly the subsequent year. Multidisciplinary management and experience are crucial for minimizing misdiagnoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-617
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Volume136
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

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Early Detection of Cancer
Lung Neoplasms
Tomography
Biopsy
Positron-Emission Tomography
Volunteers
Neoplasms
Lung
Delayed Diagnosis
Needle Biopsy
Diagnostic Errors
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery

Cite this

@article{1e468b426c9d4cb28d9bdc0385fc13d2,
title = "Difficulties encountered managing nodules detected during a computed tomography lung cancer screening program",
abstract = "Objective: The main challenge of screening a healthy population with low-dose computed tomography is to balance the excessive use of diagnostic procedures with the risk of delayed cancer detection. We evaluated the pitfalls, difficulties, and sources of mistakes in the management of lung nodules detected in volunteers in the Cosmos single-center screening trial. Methods: A total of 5201 asymptomatic high-risk volunteers underwent screening with multidetector low-dose computed tomography. Nodules detected at baseline or new nodules at annual screening received repeat low-dose computed tomography at 1 year if less than 5 mm, repeat low-dose computed tomography 3 to 6 months later if between 5 and 8 mm, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography if more than 8 mm. Growing nodules at the annual screening received low-dose computed tomography at 6 months and computed tomography-positron emission tomography or surgical biopsy according to doubling time, type, and size. Results: During the first year of screening, 106 patients underwent lung biopsy and 91 lung cancers were identified (70{\%} were stage I). Diagnosis was delayed (false-negative) in 6 patients (stage IIB in 1 patient, stage IIIA in 3 patients, and stage IV in 2 patients), including 2 small cell cancers and 1 central lesion. Surgical biopsy revealed benign disease (false-positives) in 15 cases (14{\%}). Positron emission tomography sensitivity was 88{\%} for prevalent cancers and 70{\%} for cancers diagnosed after first annual screening. No needle biopsy procedures were performed in this cohort of patients. Conclusion: Low-dose computed tomography screening is effective for the early detection of lung cancers, but nodule management remains a challenge. Computed tomography-positron emission tomography is useful at baseline, but its sensitivity decreases significantly the subsequent year. Multidisciplinary management and experience are crucial for minimizing misdiagnoses.",
author = "Giulia Veronesi and Massimo Bellomi and Paolo Scanagatta and Lorenzo Preda and Cristiano Rampinelli and Juliana Guarize and Giuseppe Pelosi and Patrick Maisonneuve and Francesco Leo and Piergiorgio Solli and Michele Masullo and Lorenzo Spaggiari",
year = "2008",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1016/j.jtcvs.2008.02.082",
language = "English",
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pages = "611--617",
journal = "Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Difficulties encountered managing nodules detected during a computed tomography lung cancer screening program

AU - Veronesi, Giulia

AU - Bellomi, Massimo

AU - Scanagatta, Paolo

AU - Preda, Lorenzo

AU - Rampinelli, Cristiano

AU - Guarize, Juliana

AU - Pelosi, Giuseppe

AU - Maisonneuve, Patrick

AU - Leo, Francesco

AU - Solli, Piergiorgio

AU - Masullo, Michele

AU - Spaggiari, Lorenzo

PY - 2008/9

Y1 - 2008/9

N2 - Objective: The main challenge of screening a healthy population with low-dose computed tomography is to balance the excessive use of diagnostic procedures with the risk of delayed cancer detection. We evaluated the pitfalls, difficulties, and sources of mistakes in the management of lung nodules detected in volunteers in the Cosmos single-center screening trial. Methods: A total of 5201 asymptomatic high-risk volunteers underwent screening with multidetector low-dose computed tomography. Nodules detected at baseline or new nodules at annual screening received repeat low-dose computed tomography at 1 year if less than 5 mm, repeat low-dose computed tomography 3 to 6 months later if between 5 and 8 mm, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography if more than 8 mm. Growing nodules at the annual screening received low-dose computed tomography at 6 months and computed tomography-positron emission tomography or surgical biopsy according to doubling time, type, and size. Results: During the first year of screening, 106 patients underwent lung biopsy and 91 lung cancers were identified (70% were stage I). Diagnosis was delayed (false-negative) in 6 patients (stage IIB in 1 patient, stage IIIA in 3 patients, and stage IV in 2 patients), including 2 small cell cancers and 1 central lesion. Surgical biopsy revealed benign disease (false-positives) in 15 cases (14%). Positron emission tomography sensitivity was 88% for prevalent cancers and 70% for cancers diagnosed after first annual screening. No needle biopsy procedures were performed in this cohort of patients. Conclusion: Low-dose computed tomography screening is effective for the early detection of lung cancers, but nodule management remains a challenge. Computed tomography-positron emission tomography is useful at baseline, but its sensitivity decreases significantly the subsequent year. Multidisciplinary management and experience are crucial for minimizing misdiagnoses.

AB - Objective: The main challenge of screening a healthy population with low-dose computed tomography is to balance the excessive use of diagnostic procedures with the risk of delayed cancer detection. We evaluated the pitfalls, difficulties, and sources of mistakes in the management of lung nodules detected in volunteers in the Cosmos single-center screening trial. Methods: A total of 5201 asymptomatic high-risk volunteers underwent screening with multidetector low-dose computed tomography. Nodules detected at baseline or new nodules at annual screening received repeat low-dose computed tomography at 1 year if less than 5 mm, repeat low-dose computed tomography 3 to 6 months later if between 5 and 8 mm, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography if more than 8 mm. Growing nodules at the annual screening received low-dose computed tomography at 6 months and computed tomography-positron emission tomography or surgical biopsy according to doubling time, type, and size. Results: During the first year of screening, 106 patients underwent lung biopsy and 91 lung cancers were identified (70% were stage I). Diagnosis was delayed (false-negative) in 6 patients (stage IIB in 1 patient, stage IIIA in 3 patients, and stage IV in 2 patients), including 2 small cell cancers and 1 central lesion. Surgical biopsy revealed benign disease (false-positives) in 15 cases (14%). Positron emission tomography sensitivity was 88% for prevalent cancers and 70% for cancers diagnosed after first annual screening. No needle biopsy procedures were performed in this cohort of patients. Conclusion: Low-dose computed tomography screening is effective for the early detection of lung cancers, but nodule management remains a challenge. Computed tomography-positron emission tomography is useful at baseline, but its sensitivity decreases significantly the subsequent year. Multidisciplinary management and experience are crucial for minimizing misdiagnoses.

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JO - Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

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