Multiple right-sided pulmonary nodules: Metastatic cancer or resectable early stage tumor?

Ugo Cioffi, Federico Raveglia, Matilde De Simone, Vincenzo Valenti, Michele M. Ciulla, Alessandro Baisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is to focus attention on complex cases of lung disease that may benefit from being managed outside formal guidelines. A 52 year-old man who had previously undergone a laryngectomy for squamous cell carcinoma, presented with a 1.2 cm nodule in the right upper pulmonary lobe. Three months later a new CT scan found that the nodule had slightly increased in size and also detected two new smaller nodules in the middle lobe. A PET/CT scan showed metabolic hyperactivity of all nodules. Since needle aspiration of the upper one revealed malignant cells, the patient was considered to be suffering from metastatic cancer and started on chemotherapy. At follow-up both CT and PET scans found a significant reduction in volume and activity of the lower nodules but no change in the upper one. At diagnostic thoracoscopy, histology demonstrated that the upper nodule was an adenocarcinoma while the lower ones were inflammatory. An upper lobectomy and systematic nodal dissection were therefore performed. Histology established a diagnosis of upper pulmonary adenocarcinoma and sarcoidosis. Our report suggests that in complicated oncologic cases in which non-invasive diagnostic tools yield incongruous results surgery should be considered without delay.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 5 2011


  • Lung cancer
  • Metastasis
  • PET/CT scan
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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