The Role of Multi Detector Computed Tomographic Imaging Prior to Clinic Consultation in Patients Suspected to Have Lung Cancer

Vimal Raj, Sumit Gupta, Tamilselvan Sivashanmugam, Daniel Barnes, Sanjay Agrawal, Jonathan A Bennett, Michael D Peake, James J Entwisle


Background: Scanning patients early in their diagnostic journey helps in differentiating benign from malignant aetiology. There is increasing pressure on diagnostic practices for rapid diagnoses and thereby early commencement of treatment in patients suspected to have lung cancer (LC). In our practice, multi detector computed tomography (MDCT) imaging is performed in selected patients referred to the LC service prior to them seeing a chest physician in the LC clinic. This study evaluates the role of such practice and reviews its potential impact on LC services.

Methods: Prospective review of our practice from January 2007 to Apr 2007 was performed. Consecutive patients referred to the service with suspected LC were included. Chest radiograph (CXR) report and clinical information from general practitioners were reviewed and graded as high, medium or low risk for presence of LC. Patients with sufficient clinical and/or radiological concern underwent MDCT imaging prior to their clinic. Combined risk scores and modified risk scores were formulated and assessed against MDCT findings.

Results: A total of 139 patients were referred to the service, 124 of these had pre-clinic MDCT. Fifty-three patients (43%) had malignancy, 39 (31%) had non-malignant significant abnormalities, 17 (14%) had other incidental findings and 15 (12%) were normal. Modified combined risk score was the best predictor of presence of cancer.

Conclusion: Pre-clinic MDCT scanning in patients with suspected LC is feasible and has a promising role in the modern care of LC patients. It also empowers physicians with additional information at the primary consultation.

World J Oncol. 2012;3(3):113-118


Lung cancer; MDCT; Screening

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