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Preoperative Staging May Reduce Lung Cancer Surgeries

-- Rick Ansorge

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WEDNESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with non-small cell lung cancer, preoperative staging with combined positron-emission tomography and computed tomography (PET-CT) is associated with reductions in total and futile thoracotomies and has no effect on overall mortality, according to a study published in the July 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Barbara Fischer, Ph.D., of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues randomly assigned 98 patients to receive PET-CT and 91 to receive conventional staging.

The researchers found that a significantly higher number of PET-CT than conventional-staging patients were classified as having inoperable cancer (38 versus 18). Among the 60 patients in the PET-CT group and 73 patients in conventional-staging group who underwent thoracotomy, they found that futile thoracotomies were less common in the PET-CT group (21 versus 38). They also observed a similar number of justified thoracotomies and rate of survival in the two groups.

"The definition of futile thoracotomy is controversial," the authors write. "Thoracotomy was considered futile if disease recurred or the patient died within 12 months after surgery, which was the case in 20 percent of the patients in the PET-CT group and 45 percent in the conventional-staging group."

One author reported a financial relationship with AstraZeneca.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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