In a nutshell
This study determined whether PET scanning helps improve overall survival for patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). This study found that overall survival was significantly longer in patients with SCLC who had PET scanning.
Determining the disease stage for patients with SCLC is a key part of determining the best therapies. PET scanning is commonly used to do this. This type of scanning is a tool for visualizing cancer cells. It can help with staging the disease to figure out how best to treat it.
PET scanning has been shown to be helpful for patients with non-small cell lung cancer. However, PET scans are not routinely performed in SCLC. Whether PET scanning will help improve the outcomes of patients with SCLC remains unclear.
Methods & findings
The study included the records of 10,135 patients with SCLC. 6,143 patients had early-stage disease. 3,510 patients had late-stage disease. Patients were followed-up for an average of 6.9 months.
Overall, 39.2% of all patients had PET scanning. More patients with early-stage disease had PET scanning compared to patients with late-stage disease (53.7% vs. 25.8%).
On average, patients with early-stage disease who had PET scanning survived significantly longer compared to patients who did not have scanning (19.8 months vs. 14.3 months). Significantly more patients who had PET scanning were still alive 3 years later compared to patients who did not have scanning (31% vs. 20%).
On average, patients with late-stage disease who had PET scanning survived significantly longer compared to patients who did not have scanning (7.83 vs. 4.23 months).
PET scanning was significantly associated with a lower risk of mortality for patients with early-stage (22%) and late-stage disease (31%).
The bottom line
This study concluded that PET scanning improved overall survival in patients with small-cell lung cancer. The authors suggest that PET scanning is an important tool to accurately determine the disease stage for these patients.
The fine print
This study was retrospective, meaning it looked back in time to analyze data. Also, the patients in this study were veterans, so these results may not be applicable to all patients. More studies are needed to confirm these results.
Published By :
Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Feb 01, 2019