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The significance of regular chest computed tomography in postoperative surveillance for surgically resected non-small cell lung cancer based on TNM 8th staging system.

OBJECTIVES: Although several societies recommend regular chest computed tomography (CT) scans for the surveillance of surgically resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), there is paucity of evidence to support these statements. This study aimed to clarify whether regular CT scans improved the prognosis of patients with surgically resected NSCLC based on TNM 8th classification.

METHODS: Patients with pathologic Stage 0-III NSCLC who underwent complete surgical resection other than sublobar resection procedures were enrolled in the study. For these patients, clinicopathological data and postoperative surveillance data were collected by the retrospective review of medical records. Patients were categorized into the chest X-ray (CXR) group or the CT group according to whether they were followed-up with basic examinations including CXR or basic examinations plus regular chest CT. Postoperative overall survival was compared between the two groups.

RESULTS: Six hundred sixty five patients were categorized into the CXR (n = 245) and CT (n = 420) groups. The clinicopathological backgrounds did not differ to a statistically significant extent. Recurrence was seen in 68 (27.3%) patients in the CXR group and 117 (27.8%) patients in the CT group. The 5-year overall survival rates of the two groups did not differ to a statistically significant extent (CXR, 76.5%; CT, 78.3%, P = 0.22).

CONCLUSION: Regular chest CT scans may not improve the prognosis of surgically resected NSCLC. Further study is warranted to precisely evaluate the benefit of CT-based postoperative surveillance of NSCLC.

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