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Ann Surg Oncol. 2019 Jun;26(6):1860-1868. doi: 10.1245/s10434-019-07311-0. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

False-Positive Results and Incidental Findings with Annual CT or PET/CT Surveillance in Asymptomatic Patients with Resected Stage III Melanoma.

Author information

1
Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
2
University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Level 6, Medical Foundation Building, 92-94 Parramatta Road, Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia.
4
Poche Centre, Clinical Trials, Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
5
Department of Medical Oncology, Royal North Shore and Mater Hospitals, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
6
Biostatistics Unit, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
7
Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
8
Department of Melanoma and Surgical Oncology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
9
Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. rachael.morton@ctc.usyd.edu.au.
10
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Level 6, Medical Foundation Building, 92-94 Parramatta Road, Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia. rachael.morton@ctc.usyd.edu.au.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to quantify false-positive and incidental findings from annual surveillance imaging in asymptomatic, American Joint Committee on Cancer stage III melanoma patients.

METHODS:

This was a cohort study of patients treated at Melanoma Institute Australia (2000-2015) with baseline computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET)/CT imaging and at least two annual surveillance scans. False-positives were defined as findings suspicious for melanoma recurrence that were not melanoma, confirmed by histopathology, subsequent imaging, or clinical follow-up, while incidental findings were defined as non-melanoma-related findings requiring further action. Outcomes of incidental findings were classified as 'benign' if they resolved spontaneously or were not seriously harmful; 'malignant' if a second malignancy was identified; or 'other' if potentially harmful.

RESULTS:

Among 154 patients, 1022 scans were performed (154 baseline staging, 868 surveillance) during a median follow-up of 85 months (interquartile range 56-112); 57 patients (37%) developed a recurrence. For baseline and surveillance imaging, 124 false-positive results and incidental findings were identified in 81 patients (53%). The frequency of these findings was 5-14% per year, and an additional 181 tests, procedures, and referrals were initiated to investigate these findings. The diagnosis was benign in 109 findings of 124 findings (88%). Fifteen patients with a benign finding underwent an unnecessary invasive procedure. Surveillance imaging identified distant metastases in 20 patients (13%).

CONCLUSION:

False-positive results and incidental findings occur in at least half of all patients undergoing annual surveillance imaging, and the additional healthcare use is substantial. These findings persist over time. Clinicians need to be aware of these risks and discuss them with patients, alongside the expected benefits of surveillance imaging.

PMID:
30911946
DOI:
10.1245/s10434-019-07311-0

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