The positive impact of radiologic imaging on high-stage cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma management

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Abstract

Background:

There is limited evidence on the utility of radiologic imaging for prognostic staging of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC).

Objective:

Review utilization of radiologic imaging of high-stage CSCCs to evaluate whether imaging impacted management and outcomes.

Methods:

Tumors classified as Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) tumor (T) stage T2B or T3 over a 13-year period were reviewed to identify whether imaging was performed and whether results affected treatment. Disease-related outcomes (DRO: local recurrence, nodal metastasis, death from disease) were compared between patients by type of imaging used.

Results:

108 high-stage CSCCs in 98 patients were included. Imaging (mostly computed tomography, 79%) was utilized in 45 (46%) patients and management was altered in 16 (33%) patients who underwent imaging. Patients that received no imaging were at higher risk of developing nodal metastases (nonimaging, 30%; imaging, 13%; P = .041) and any DRO (nonimaging, 42%; imaging, 20%; P = .028) compared to the imaging group. Imaging was associated with a lower risk for DRO (subhazard ratio, 0.5; 95% CI 0.2-0.9; P = .046) adjusted for BWH T stage, sex, and location.

Limitations:

Single institution retrospective design and changes in technology overtime.

Conclusions:

Radiologic imaging of high-stage CSCC may influence management and appears to positively impact outcomes. Further prospective studies are needed to establish which patients benefit from imaging.

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