Dynamic four-dimensional computed tomography for preoperative assessment of lung cancer invasion into adjacent structures

Cliff K.C. Choong, Sundeep Singh Pasricha, Xun Li, Peter Briggs, Shakher Ramdave, Marcus Crossett, John M. Troupis

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19 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: The 320-slice computed tomography (CT) provides three-dimensional and dynamic imaging resulting in the ability to assess motion analysis between two adjacent structures (the fourth dimension). Differential movements between two adjacent structures would indicate that there is no fixation between the two structures. METHODS: Eight patients with non-small-cell lung cancers located adjacent to vital structures (e.g. the great vessels) (n = 4), mediastinum (n = 1) or chest wall (n = 3) where conventional CT was unable to exclude local invasion underwent dynamic four-dimensional (4D) CT assessment. In 3 patients, the lung tumour was abutting the chest wall and 1 patient had tumour abutting the mediastinum. The remaining patients included a patient with a large 14-cm left lower lobe cancer abutting the descending thoracic aorta who had previous pleurodesis; a patient with an apical right upper lobe 6-cm cancer with static imaging appearances suggestive of tumour invasion into the apex, the mediastinal surface and superior vena cava (SVC); a patient with a 3.5-cm cancer which had a broad 2.5-cm base abutting the distal aortic arch and a patient with a 14-cm left upper lobe cancer abutting the aortic arch, descending thoracic aorta and chest wall. Differential movements between the tumour and adjacent structure on 4D CT were considered indicative of the absence of frank invasion. RESULTS: Dynamic 4D imaging revealed differential movements between the tumour and the adjacent structures in 7 cases, suggesting the absence of overt malignant invasion. Intraoperative assessments confirmed the findings. In 1 case, a small area of fixation seen on dynamic CT corresponded intraoperatively to superficial invasion of the adventitia of the SVC. CONCLUSIONS: Dynamic 4D 320-slice CT is useful in the preoperative assessment of the direct invasion of lung cancer into adjacent structures and hence its resectability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberezu265
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Cancer
  • CT
  • Dynamic
  • Invasion
  • Lung
  • Surgery

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