Incidental Thoracic Findings on Routine Computed Tomography in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer

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Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) is routinely used in the surveillance of epithelial ovarian cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of thoracic findings on routine MDCT surveillance imaging in patients with ovarian carcinoma.

Materials and Methods

Retrospective evaluation of 100 MDCT studies of patients with a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer was performed at a university teaching hospital. The cross-sectional studies were reviewed by a consultant radiologist with subspeciality training in cross-sectional imaging.


Intrathoracic findings were identified in 35% of patients. Pleural effusions were identified in 40%, pulmonary nodules in 37%, mediastinal adenopathy in 17%, and thyroid nodules in 6% of patients. Thirty-five (35%) patients were found to have thoracic findings on computed tomography. Pleural effusions developed in 14 (40%) of these patients. Small lung nodules (<1 cm) were present in 13 (37%) patients. Mediastinal lymphadenopathy was seen in 6 (17%) patients. Two patients (6%) had thyroid nodules of unknown significance. Pleural effusions and small lung nodules were present at a similar level to that of the general population.


This retrospective study supports the imaging recommendations of the European Society of Urogenital Radiology that MDCT protocols for the initial staging and evaluation of recurrent disease in epithelial ovarian carcinoma require only inclusion of the lung bases to the inguinal region reducing exposure to ionizing radiation, alleviating patient anxiety, and offering a cost-benefit to hospitals.

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