Background: In planning lung cancer therapy, the possibility of mediastinal invasion merits attention. The results of CT and MRI in this respect are unsatisfactory, especially in determining aortic involvement.
Study objectives: To determine the validity of transesophageal echography in proving the invasion of lung cancer into the aortic wall.
Patients: Two hundred one patients with lung cancer abutting against the aorta were examined using transesophageal echography and CT. In 97 patients, the results of both imaging techniques were compared with the surgical/pathologic results.
Results: In a vast majority, transesophageal echography leads to a definitive result while CT remains equivocal. Controlled by surgical/pathologic results in 97 patients, transesophageal echography yielded a diagnostic accuracy of 91.8%.
Conclusions: In lung cancer abutting against the aorta, the diagnostic procedure should be complemented by transesophageal echography if the therapeutic management depends on whether the aortic wall is invaded by the tumor or not.