Purpose: The solid component of lung ground-glass nodules on thin-section computed tomography (TSCT) reflects cancer cell progression and invasiveness. The purpose of this study was to clarify the cut-off value of preoperative TSCT findings in treating a lesion suspected of being adenocarcinoma and to recognize the timing of surgical resection for lung nodules. Methods: We reevaluated the TSCT findings in 392 patients with clinical stage IA lung adenocarcinoma who underwent surgical resection between 2003 and 2007. We identified the clinical parameters that were most useful for predicting recurrence and identified a cut-off level for each parameter. Results: Recurrence was observed in 75 (19 %) of 392 patients (median follow-up: 7 years). The size of internal consolidation of a lung nodule (SCL) and the ratio of the SCL to the maximum tumor diameter (C/T ratio) were extracted as independent factors that predicted recurrence. Only 1 (0.3 %) patient each with a lung nodule C/T ratio ≤0.5 and SCL ≤10 mm recurred. These conditions were associated with a significantly better overall survival and recurrence-free survival. Conclusion: In patients with clinical stage I lung adenocarcinoma with a C/T ratio ≤0.5 and/or SCL ≤10 mm on TSCT, surgery is extremely likely to achieve a cure.
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