Does FDG-PET/CT for incidentally found pulmonary lesions lead to a cascade of more incidental findings?

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency, nature, and downstream healthcare costs of new incidental findings that are found on whole-body FDG-PET/CT in patients with a non-FDG-avid pulmonary lesion ≥10 mm that was incidentally found on previous imaging.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective study included a consecutive series of patients who underwent whole-body FDG-PET/CT because of an incidentally found pulmonary lesion ≥10 mm.

RESULTS: Seventy patients were included, of whom 23 (32.9 %) had an incidentally found pulmonary lesion that proved to be non-FDG-avid. In 12 of these 23 cases (52.2 %) at least one new incidental finding was discovered on FDG-PET/CT. The total number of new incidental findings was 21, of which 7 turned out to be benign, 1 proved to be malignant (incurable metastasized cancer), and 13 whose nature remained unclear. One patient sustained permanent neurologic impairment of the left leg due to iatrogenic nerve damage during laparotomy for an incidental finding which turned out to be benign. The total costs of all additional investigations due to the detection of new incidental findings amounted to €9903.17, translating to an average of €141.47 per whole-body FDG-PET/CT scan performed for the evaluation of an incidentally found pulmonary lesion.

CONCLUSION: In many patients in whom whole-body FDG-PET/CT was performed to evaluate an incidentally found pulmonary lesion that turned out to be non-FDG-avid and therefore very likely benign, FDG-PET/CT detected new incidental findings in our preliminary study. Whether the detection of these new incidental findings is cost-effective or not, requires further research with larger sample sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110116
Number of pages7
JournalClinical imaging
Volume108
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4-Mar-2024

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