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Supplementary Material for: Are Incidental Minute Pulmonary Nodules Ultimately Determined to Be Metastatic Nodules in Esophageal Cancer Patients?

posted on 08.07.2021, 04:52 by Matsuura N., Tanaka K., Yamasaki M., Yamashita K., Makino T., Saito T., Yamamoto K., Takahashi T., Kurokawa Y., Motoori M., Kimura Y., Nakajima K., Eguchi H., Doki Y.
Purpose: Esophageal cancer patients may simultaneously have resectable esophageal cancer and undiagnosable incidental minute solid pulmonary nodules. While the latter is rarely metastatic, only a few studies have reported on the outcomes of such nodules after surgery. In this retrospective study, we assessed the incidence of such nodules, the probability that they are ultimately metastatic nodules, and the prognosis of patients after esophagectomy according to the metastatic status of the nodules. Methods: Data of 398 patients who underwent esophagectomy for resectable esophageal cancer between January 2012 and December 2016 were collected. We reviewed computed tomography (CT) images from the first visit and searched for incidental minute pulmonary nodules <10 mm in size. We followed the outcomes of these nodules and compared the characteristics of metastatic and nonmetastatic nodules. We also assessed the prognosis of patients whose minute pulmonary nodules were metastatic. Results: Among the patients who underwent esophagectomy, 149 (37.4%) had one or more minute pulmonary nodules, with a total of 285 nodules. Thirteen (4.6%) of these nodules in 12 (8.1%) patients were ultimately diagnosed as being metastatic. Thirteen (8.7%) patients experienced recurrence at a different location from where the nodules were originally identified. Characteristics of the metastatic nodules were not unique in terms of size, SUVmax, or location in the lungs. Two-year and 5-year overall survival rates of patients whose nodules were metastatic were 64.2 and 32.1%, respectively. Conclusion: The rate of minute pulmonary nodules which were ultimately metastatic was 4.6%. Our findings suggest that esophagectomy followed by the identification of minute pulmonary nodules is an acceptable strategy even if the nodules cannot be diagnosed as being metastatic on the first visit CT due to their small size.