The Clinical Significance of Initial Pulmonary Micronodules in Young Sarcoma Patients

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2015 Oct;37(7):548-53. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000000393.


Background: The clinical significance of subcentimeter nodules identified on staging chest computed tomography (CT) for sarcoma remains unknown. Our goal was to evaluate the effect of initial pulmonary nodule size and number on survival rates in young, newly diagnosed sarcoma patients.

Methods: Medical records were reviewed for all patients ≤50 years of age with primary, high-grade bone or soft tissue sarcoma at our institution over a 10-year period. This population was divided into patients with no nodules (group 1); 1 nodule <5 mm (group 2);>1 nodule <5 mm (group 3); and ≥1 nodule ≥5 mm (group 4). Kaplan-Meier analyses with log rank tests were performed to compare overall and disease-free survival between these 4 groups, as well as between patients with unilateral and bilateral nodules.

Results: There were 74 patients in group 1 (59.2%), 26 in group 2 (21%), 11 in group 3 (9%), and 13 in group 4 (10%). Mean follow-up was 74 (range, 6 to 191 mo) months. Survival was only slightly worse with larger nodules but significantly worse with multiple nodules. In addition, patients with bilateral nodules had a significantly worse prognosis than those with multiple unilateral nodules.

Conclusions: These data suggest that in young patients with high-grade sarcoma, the number and distribution of subcentimeter pulmonary nodules are an important prognostic factor, whereas nodule size may be less relevant.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Sarcoma / mortality
  • Sarcoma / secondary*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / mortality
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult