Purpose: Precision radiation therapy such as stereotactic body radiation therapy and limited resection are being used more frequently to treat intrathoracic malignancies. Effective local control requires precise radiation target delineation or complete resection. Lung biopsy tracts (LBT) on computed tomography (CT) scans after the use of tract sealants can mimic malignant tract seeding (MTS) and it is unclear whether these LBTs should be included in the calculated tumor volume or resected. This study evaluates the incidence, appearance, evolution, and malignant seeding of LBTs. Methods and materials: A total of 406 lung biopsies were performed in oncology patients using a tract sealant over 19 months. Of these patients, 326 had follow-up CT scans and were included in the study group. Four thoracic radiologists retrospectively analyzed the imaging, and a pathologist examined 10 resected LBTs. Results: A total of 234 of 326 biopsies (72%, including primary lung cancer [n = 98]; metastases [n = 81]; benign [n = 50]; and nondiagnostic [n = 5]) showed an LBT on CT. LBTs were identified on imaging 0 to 3 months after biopsy. LBTs were typically straight or serpiginous with a thickness of 2 to 5 mm. Most LBTs were unchanged (92%) or decreased (6.3%) over time. An increase in LBT thickness/nodularity that was suspicious for MTS occurred in 4 of 234 biopsies (1.7%). MTS only occurred after biopsy of metastases from extrathoracic malignancies, and none occurred in patients with lung cancer. Conclusions: LBTs are common on CT after lung biopsy using a tract sealant. MTS is uncommon and only occurred in patients with extrathoracic malignancies. No MTS was found in patients with primary lung cancer. Accordingly, potential alteration in planned therapy should be considered only in patients with LBTs and extrathoracic malignancies being considered for stereotactic body radiation therapy or wedge resection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging