Lung Cancer Test Less Effective in Areas Where Infectious Lung Disease is More Common

“A new analysis of published studies found that FDG-PET technology is less accurate in diagnosing lung cancer versus benign disease in regions where infections like histoplasmosis or tuberculosis are common. Misdiagnosis of lung lesions suspicious for cancer could lead to unnecessary tests and surgeries for patients, with additional potential complications and mortality.

“Histoplasmosis and other fungal diseases are linked to fungi that are often concentrated in bird droppings and are found in soils.

“The study by investigators at Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System-Veterans Affairs was led by Vanderbilt first author Stephen Deppen, Ph.D., and principal investigator Eric Grogan, M.D., MPH, and appeared in the Sept. 24 issue of JAMA.

“Positron emission tomography (PET) combined with fludeoxyglucose F18 (FDG) is currently recommended for the noninvasive diagnosis of lung nodules suspicious for lung cancer. To estimate FDG-PET diagnostic accuracy, the authors reviewed lung cancer abstracts published in a 14 year period and included 70 studies in the meta-analysis. The studies included 8,511 nodules, 60 percent of which were malignant.”