Positron emission tomography in bronchioloalveolar carcinoma of the lung

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2012 Dec;38(12):1156-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2012.08.020. Epub 2012 Sep 25.


Objectives: This study assessed the maximum standard uptake value of positron emission tomography-computed tomography in patients of pulmonary adenocarcinoma with bronchioloalveolar carcinoma features and whether SUVmax correlates with pathological status, lymph node metastasis, and prognosis.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 674 patients diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer between January 2002 and June 2009. Patients with clinical stage I-II disease underwent a preoperative PET-CT scan followed by anatomic resection. We reviewed the clinical features of 209 patients with an average follow-up of 87 months.

Results: We analyzed clinical variables for 40 patients with BAC features and 169 patients without BAC features. Age, sex, location, and number of dissected lymph nodes, carcinoembryonic antigen level, and lymphovascular invasion had no difference between the two groups. Compared with non-BAC patients, patients with BAC features had a lower SUVmax (2.51 ± 2.02 vs 4.98 ± 4.03, p < 0.001), lower ratio of SUVmax (1.10 ± 0.34 vs 1.22 ± 0.27, p = 0.014), better tumor differentiation (p < 0.001), and smaller tumor size (2.30 ± 1.41 vs 2.97 ± 1.71, p < 0.03). The negative prediction rate was 87.08% for N2 and 80.80% for N1 disease. All patients in the BAC group were alive after the operation. The five-year survival rate of patients without BAC features was 71.2%.

Conclusions: Preoperative SUVmax of PET-CT was more accurate at predicting negative N2 than N1 disease. BAC is associated with markedly better prognosis compared with invasive adenocarcinoma and may be cured with surgical resection Aggressive surgical resection is recommended even for patients with false-negative N2 disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Preoperative Period
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies