The lung cancers: staging and response, CT, 18F-FDG PET/CT, MRI, DWI: review and new perspectives.
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Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in both sexes combined. Recent years have seen major advances in the diagnostic and treatment options for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), including the routine use of 2-deoxy-2[18F]-fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT) in staging and response evaluation, minimally invasive endoscopic biopsy, targeted radiotherapy, minimally invasive surgery, and molecular and immunotherapies. In this review, the central roles of CT and 18F-FDG PET/CT in staging and response in both NSCLC and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) are critically assessed. The Tumour Node Metastases (TNM-8) staging systems for NSCLC and MPM are presented with critical appraisal of the strengths and pitfalls of imaging. Overviews of the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST 1.1) for NSCLC and the modified RECIST criteria for MPM are provided, together with discussion of the benefits and limitations of these anatomical-based tools. Metabolic response assessment (not evaluated by RECIST 1.1) will be explored. We introduce the Positron Emission Tomography Response Criteria in Solid Tumours (PERCIST 1.0) to include its advantages and challenges. The limitations of both anatomical and metabolic assessment criteria when applied to NSCLC treated with immunotherapy and the important concept of pseudoprogression are addressed with reference to immune RECIST (iRECIST). Separate consideration is given to the diagnosis and follow up of solitary pulmonary nodules with reference to the British Thoracic Society guidelines and Fleischner guidelines and use of the Brock (CT-based) and Herder (addition of 18F-FDG PET/CT) models for assessing malignant potential. We discuss how these models inform decisions by the multidisciplinary team, including referral of suspicious nodules for non-surgical management in patients unsuitable for surgery. We briefly outline current lung screening systems being used in the UK, Europe and North America. Emerging roles for MRI in lung cancer imaging are reviewed. The use of whole-body MRI in diagnosing and staging NSCLC is discussed with reference to the recent multicentre Streamline L trial. The potential use of diffusion-weighted MRI to distinguish tumour from radiotherapy-induced lung toxicity is discussed. We briefly summarise the new PET-CT radiotracers being developed to evaluate specific aspects of cancer biology, other than glucose uptake. Finally, we describe how CT, MRI and 18F-FDG PET/CT are moving from primarily diagnostic tools for lung cancer towards having utility in prognostication and personalised medicine with the agency of artificial intelligence.
Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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British Journal of Radiology, 2023, 96 (1148), pp. 20220339 -
BRITISH INST RADIOLOGY