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Mediastinal lymphatic drainage from pulmonary lobe based on CT observations of histoplasmosis: implications for minimal N2 disease of non-small-cell lung cancer.

Radiation Medicine 2007 October
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to assess mediastinal lymphatic drainage patterns from each pulmonary lobe using computed tomographic (CT) observations of calcified primary complex pulmonary histoplasmosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We assessed 400 CT studies of patients with primary complex histoplasmosis consisting of a single lobe pulmonary lesion and mediastinal nodal disease. We assessed the distribution of mediastinal nodal involvement depending on pulmonary lobes for the total number of involved nodes, the number with single-station involvement (which suggests the initial site of involvement), and the number with skip involvement which suggests direct drainage to the mediastinum.

RESULTS: The most commonly involved mediastinal nodal stations from the right upper lobe, left upper lobe, and left lower lobe were the right lower paratracheal node (97%, 74/76), the subaortic node (72%, 49/68), and the left pulmonary ligament node (61%, 66/108), respectively. These nodes were the most common site of skip involvement in each lobe. In the right lower lobe and middle lobe, the subcarinal node was most commonly involved: 62% (65/105) and 81% (35/43), respectively. By contrast, skip involvement was uncommon in the drainage to this node.

CONCLUSION: Our data show a predictable pattern of lobar lymphatic drainage to the mediastinum. This may have implications on the minimal N2 disease of non-small-cell lung cancer.

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