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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 281-285

The role of fluorodeoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in nodal staging of nonsmall cell lung cancer in sequential surgical algorithm

1 Department of Radiology, Augusta University, Augusta, GA 30912, USA
2 Department of Statistics, Augusta University, Augusta, GA 30912, USA
3 Department of Thoracic Surgery, Augusta University, Augusta, GA 30912, USA

Correspondence Address:
Vijay Patel
Department of Thoracic Surgery, 1459 Laney Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA 30912
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DOI: 10.4103/1450-1147.215486

PMID: 29033676

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With nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), accurate mediastinal nodal staging is crucial to determine whether a patient is or is not a surgical candidate. Traditionally, computed tomography (CT) and fluorodeoxy-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT are the initial steps followed by tissue sampling through mediastinoscopy and/or thoracotomy, which are invasive procedures. There is controversy regarding the possibility of omission of the invasive diagnostic procedures and solely relying on noninvasive presurgical staging CT and FDG PET/CT results. Eighty-three patients who had PET/CT, mediastinoscopy, and thoracotomy for NSCLC were analyzed. For all lymph nodes that may be sampled by mediastinoscopy, PET/CT sensitivity was 80%, specificity was 86%, positive predictive value was 47%, and negative predictive value (NPV) was 97%; and for those in this group whose clinical stage was T1/T2 M0, sensitivity was 100% and specificity was 84%. For lymph nodes accessible only at thoracotomy, sensitivity was 42% and specificity was 88%. FDG PET/CT is accurate in assessing stations 2R/L, 4R/L, and 7 nodes and has the potential to replace mediastinoscopy in the treatment algorithm of T1/T2 M0 disease. A negative PET/CT may potentially prevent the patient from invasive mediastinoscopy given its high NPV. However, a patient with positive PET/CT should undergo tissue biopsy with pathology confirmation.

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