Role of CT and PET Imaging in Predicting Tumor Recurrence and Survival in Patients with Lung Adenocarcinoma: A Comparison with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer/American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society Classification of Lung Adenocarcinoma

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Recently, a new lung adenocarcinoma classification scheme was published. The prognostic value of this new classification has not been elaborated together with the value of imaging biomarkers including computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET).


We reviewed pathologic specimens and imaging characteristics of primary tumors from 723 consecutive patients who underwent surgical resection for lung adenocarcinoma. On pathology, the predominant histologic subtype and pattern group were quantified. Tumor-shadow disappearance ratio (TDR) on CT and maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) on PET were assessed. The relationships between those variables and survival (overall survival [OS] and disease-free survival) were analyzed by using Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox regression analyses.


The median follow-up period was 3.8 years. There were 137 patients (19%) with recurrence and 167 patients (23%) with metastasis after surgical resection. Among 723 patients, 35 patients (4.8%) had adenocarcinoma in situ, 34 patients (4.7%) had minimally invasive adenocarcinoma, 125 patients (17.3%) had lepidic predominant, 314 patients (43.4%) had acinar predominant, 65 patients (9.0%) had papillary predominant, 23 patients (3.2%) had micropapillary predominant, 113 patients (15.6%) had solid predominant, and 14 patients (1.9%) had variant adenocarcinomas. OS and disease-free survival rates were significantly different according to TDR on CT and SUVmax on PET, predominant subtypes, and pattern groups. On multivariate analysis, the SUVmax (p < 0.001), TDR (p = 0.038), and pattern group (p = 0.015) were independent predictors of OS.


TDR on CT, SUVmax on PET, and the new histologic classification schemes appear to be promising parameters for the prognostic stratification of patients with lung adenocarcinomas, allowing for the triage of patients who necessitate further staging workup and adjuvant therapy.

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