Lung cancer screening in patients with previous malignancy: Is this cohort at increased risk for malignancy?

Lung Cancer

Eur Radiol. 2020 Jul 29. doi: 10.1007/s00330-020-07026-x. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: To determine the rate of second primary lung cancer (SPLC) and describe the clinical characteristics and radiological findings in individuals with a prior history of cancer presenting to a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening program at a tertiary cancer center.

METHODS: Patients with a previous history of malignancy, a life expectancy ≥ 5 years referred for CT lung cancer screening between May 2, 2011, and November 28, 2018, were included. Demographics regarding risk factors including smoking history and prior history of thoracic radiation were collected. CT scan features assessed nodule size, morphologic features, and number. The Lung-CT Reporting and Data System (Lung-RADS) scoring system was retrospectively applied to studies performed before October 2014 and prospectively applied to remainder of studies. Data was collected in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant manner.

RESULTS: A total of 543 patients were studied (mean age of 66 years). All had a previous history of cancer, most commonly breast cancer 205 (38%), head and neck cancer 105 (19%), and lung cancer 87 (16%). Of screening CTs performed, 17.5% were positive screening study results as per Lung-RADS scoring system. SPLC was diagnosed in 35 patients (6.4%) with 21 prevalence cancers detected and 14 interval cancers detected in subsequent screening rounds.

CONCLUSIONS: The rate of screen-detected SPLC in patients with prior malignancy is higher than reported rates seen in historical prospective screening studies. Our study suggests the need for prospective research to evaluate any mortality benefit that screening may have in this population.

KEY POINTS: • The rate of screen-detected second primary lung cancer in patients with prior malignancy is higher than reported rates seen in historical prospective randomized lung cancer screening studies in a general screened population. • Patients with a prior malignancy undergoing lung cancer screening have higher rates of positive screening studies and higher rates of invasive diagnostic procedures than those reported in a general screening population. • Prospective research is required to evaluate if screening offers a mortality benefit in this population.