Pathologic and molecular features of screening low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)-detected lung cancer: A baseline and 2-year repeat study
Detailed studies on the pathologic and molecular features of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)-detected carcinomas and comparison with unscreened tumors are still lacking. We evaluated the histopathologic features of 89 LDCT-detected lung cancers resected between 2004 and 2006. These tumors occurred within a cohort of 5202 volunteers undergoing annual LDCT, aged > or =50 years, and with a minimum 20 pack-year index. In adenocarcinomas, central scar diameter, invasion foci size and K-ras mutations were also assessed. The results were compared with those of 89 consecutive lung carcinomas matched for confounding factors (sex, smoking habit), selected from group of 363 consecutive clinically worked-up lung cancer, surgically resected in the same period and at the same Institution. The tumors were diagnosed in 63 males and 26 females (range 50-79 years), 55 of which diagnosed at the baseline (1.05%) and 34 (including 10 repeat cancers) operated after work-up during the second year (0.72%). LDCT-detected tumors showed high resectability rate (89%), earlier stage (63%) and prevalence of adenocarcinoma nodules (72%), most often of the mixed subtype, in comparison with unscreened tumors. A similar prevalence of K-ras mutations was found in both screened and unscreened adenocarcinomas. Repeat cancers were found in 10 screened patients, and were predominantly stage I adenocarcinomas of mixed subtype exhibiting smaller dimension but greater central scar diameter and stromal invasion size in comparison with the other second-year, slower-growing adenocarcinomas. Multiple tumor nodules were identified in 10 patients exclusively at the baseline, were mostly mixed adenocarcinomas and differed in their K-ras mutation profile. Screening-detected lung cancers shared most of the histologic features of fully malignant tumors, in addition to a similar prevalence of K-ras mutations, despite their earlier detection and less advanced clinical stage. Repeat cancers are potentially aggressive tumors. K-ras mutation analysis supports the impression that multifocal tumors at baseline are separate synchronous primaries.