Computed tomography (CT) of the chest was performed as part of the initial and subsequent staging evaluations in 33 patients with small cell lung carcinoma. In 25 of the 33 patients, CT demonstrated findings not observed on standard radiography. Eleven of the 33 would have been staged higher using CT. Before treatment, CT revealed more mediastinal and nodal involvement than conventional films. After chemotherapy, CT demonstrated areas of residual or early recurrent disease in nine of 28 patients that were not apparent on chest films. Initially thickened pericardium in patients with limited disease and persistent bronchial narrowing after chemotherapy were demonstrated to be associated with early relapse in the chest and short survival. These initial data suggest that the CT scan, in addition to more accurately assessing the extent of disease, can provide a new risk classification for early chest relapse. Initial thickened pericardium in limited disease and continued bronchial narrowing after chemotherapy may allow patient selection for future treatment trials with radiation as an adjuvant to chemotherapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging