Is routine chest radiography a useful test in the follow up of all adult patients with soft tissue sarcoma?

Robert Hugh MacDougall, H. K Lord, D. M Salter, G. R Kerr

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Following treatment for localized soft tissue sarcoma the risk of relapse is either locally or in the lungs. In Edinburgh patients are reviewed every 6 months with a chest X-ray (CXR). The radiation exposure over a 10 year follow up remains small, but it is unclear if all patients, irrespective of the initial grade of their primary tumour, require this. To determine the pick up rate of lung metastases by routine CXR over a 10 year period and to review the primary histology. Adult patients on routine follow up between 1994 and 2004 were identified and the notes of those with lung metastases reviewed. Data was collected on their initial histology, and date and method of diagnosis of lung metastases. 179 patients were under follow up. 24 (13%) developed lung metastases. For 2, notes were not found. 6 (27%) had metastases diagnosed by routine CXR, 9 (41%) had metastases diagnosed by non routine CXR and 7 (32%) had metastases diagnosed by CT. On review of histology none were grade 1, 4 (18%) were grade 2 and 18 (82%) were grade 3. 155 patients received. 6 monthly CXR for 10 years with no detection of lung metastases. Lung metastases occurred in a minority of patients (13%) and most (82%) occurred in patients with grade 3 tumours. No patients with grade 1 tumours developed lung metastases. Thus routine CXR may be appropriate on grade 3 tumours, but not on lower grade tumours where other risk factors are absent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-800
Number of pages2
JournalThe British Journal of Radiology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


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