Publications by authors named "Eric S Lambright"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Long-Term Physical HRQOL Decreases After Single Lung as Compared With Double Lung Transplantation.

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 12 16;106(6):1633-1639. Epub 2018 Aug 16.

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee; Transplant Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Background: Single lung transplantation (SLT) and double lung transplantation (DLT) are associated with differences in morbidity and mortality, although the effects of transplant type on patient-reported outcomes are not widely reported and conclusions have differed. Previous studies compared mean health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores but did not evaluate potentially different temporal trajectories in the context of longitudinal follow-up. To address this uncertainty, this study was designed to evaluate longitudinal HRQOL after SLT and DLT with the hypothesis that temporal trajectories differ between SLT and DLT.

Methods: Patients transplanted at a single institution were eligible to be surveyed at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and then annually after transplant using the Short Form 36 Health Survey, with longitudinal physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) scores as the primary outcomes. Multivariable mixed-effects models were used to evaluate the effects of transplant type and time posttransplant on longitudinal PCS and MCS after adjusting age, diagnosis, rejection, Lung Allocation Score quartile, and intubation duration. Time by transplant type interaction effects were used to test whether the temporal trajectories of HRQOL differ between SLT and DLT recipients. HRQOL scores were referenced to general population norms (range, 40 to 60; mean, 50 ± 10) using accepted standards for a minimally important difference (½ SD, 5 points).

Results: Postoperative surveys (n = 345) were analyzed for 136 patients (52% male, 23% SLT, age 52 ± 13 years, LAS 42 ± 12, follow-up 37 ± 29 months [range, 0.6 to 133]) who underwent lung transplantation between 2005 and 2016. After adjusting for model covariates, overall posttransplant PCS scores have a significant downward trajectory (p = 0.015) whereas MCS scores remain stable (p = 0.593), with both averaging within general population norms. The time by transplant type interaction effect (p = 0.002), however, indicate that posttransplant PCS scores of SLT recipients decline at a rate of 2.4 points per year over the total observation period compared to DLT. At approximately 60 months, the PCS scores of SLT recipients, but not DLT recipients, fall below general population norms.

Conclusions: The trajectory of physical HRQOL in patients receiving SLT declines over time compared with DLT, indicating that, in the longer term, SLT recipients are more likely to have physical HRQOL scores that fall substantively below general population norms. Physical HRQOL after 5 years may be a consideration for lung allocation and patient counseling regarding expectations when recommending SLT or DLT.
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December 2018

Communication About the Probability of Cancer in Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules.

JAMA Surg 2018 04;153(4):353-357

Department of Surgery, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville.

Importance: Clinical guidelines recommend that clinicians estimate the probability of malignancy for patients with indeterminate pulmonary nodules (IPNs) larger than 8 mm. Adherence to these guidelines is unknown.

Objectives: To determine whether clinicians document the probability of malignancy in high-risk IPNs and to compare these quantitative or qualitative predictions with the validated Mayo Clinic Model.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Single-institution, retrospective cohort study of patients from a tertiary care Department of Veterans Affairs hospital from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2015. Cohort 1 included 291 veterans undergoing surgical resection of known or suspected lung cancer from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2015. Cohort 2 included a random sample of 239 veterans undergoing inpatient or outpatient pulmonary evaluation of IPNs at the hospital from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2012.

Exposures: Clinician documentation of the quantitative or qualitative probability of malignancy.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Documentation from pulmonary and/or thoracic surgery clinicians as well as information from multidisciplinary tumor board presentations was reviewed. Any documented quantitative or qualitative predictions of malignancy were extracted and summarized using descriptive statistics. Clinicians' predictions were compared with risk estimates from the Mayo Clinic Model.

Results: Of 291 patients in cohort 1, 282 (96.9%) were men; mean (SD) age was 64.6 (9.0) years. Of 239 patients in cohort 2, 233 (97.5%) were men; mean (SD) age was 65.5 (10.8) years. Cancer prevalence was 258 of 291 cases (88.7%) in cohort 1 and 110 of 225 patients with a definitive diagnosis (48.9%) in cohort 2. Only 13 patients (4.5%) in cohort 1 and 3 (1.3%) in cohort 2 had a documented quantitative prediction of malignancy prior to tissue diagnosis. Of the remaining patients, 217 of 278 (78.1%) in cohort 1 and 149 of 236 (63.1%) in cohort 2 had qualitative statements of cancer risk. In cohort 2, 23 of 79 patients (29.1%) without any documented malignancy risk statements had a final diagnosis of cancer. Qualitative risk statements were distributed among 32 broad categories. The most frequently used statements aligned well with Mayo Clinic Model predictions for cohort 1 compared with cohort 2. The median Mayo Clinic Model-predicted probability of cancer was 68.7% (range, 2.4%-100.0%). Qualitative risk statements roughly aligned with Mayo predictions.

Conclusions And Relevance: Clinicians rarely provide quantitative documentation of cancer probability for high-risk IPNs, even among patients drawn from a broad range of cancer probabilities. Qualitative statements of cancer risk in current practice are imprecise and highly variable. A standard scale that correlates with predicted cancer risk for IPNs should be used to communicate with patients and other clinicians.
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April 2018

Assessment of Fluorodeoxyglucose F18-Labeled Positron Emission Tomography for Diagnosis of High-Risk Lung Nodules.

JAMA Surg 2018 04;153(4):329-334

Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee.

Importance: Clinicians rely heavily on fluorodeoxyglucose F18-labeled positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging to evaluate lung nodules suspicious for cancer. We evaluated the performance of FDG-PET for the diagnosis of malignancy in differing populations with varying cancer prevalence.

Objective: To determine the performance of FDG-PET/computed tomography (CT) in diagnosing lung malignancy across different populations with varying cancer prevalence.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Multicenter retrospective cohort study at 6 academic medical centers and 1 Veterans Affairs facility that comprised a total of 1188 patients with known or suspected lung cancer from 7 different cohorts from 2005 to 2015.

Exposures: 18F fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT imaging.

Main Outcome And Measures: Final diagnosis of cancer or benign disease was determined by pathological tissue diagnosis or at least 18 months of stable radiographic follow-up.

Results: Most patients were male smokers older than 60 years. Overall cancer prevalence was 81% (range by cohort, 50%-95%). The median nodule size was 22 mm (interquartile range, 15-33 mm). Positron emission tomography/CT sensitivity and specificity were 90.1% (95% CI, 88.1%-91.9%) and 39.8% (95% CI, 33.4%-46.5%), respectively. False-positive PET scans occurred in 136 of 1188 patients. Positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 86.4% (95% CI, 84.2%-88.5%) and 48.7% (95% CI, 41.3%-56.1%), respectively. On logistic regression, larger nodule size and higher population cancer prevalence were both significantly associated with PET accuracy (odds ratio, 1.027; 95% CI, 1.015-1.040 and odds ratio, 1.030; 95% CI, 1.021-1.040, respectively). As the Mayo Clinic model-predicted probability of cancer increased, the sensitivity and positive predictive value of PET/CT imaging increased, whereas the specificity and negative predictive value dropped.

Conclusions And Relevance: High false-positive rates were observed across a range of cancer prevalence. Normal PET/CT scans were not found to be reliable indicators of the absence of disease in patients with a high probability of lung cancer. In this population, aggressive tissue acquisition should be prioritized using a comprehensive lung nodule program that emphasizes advanced tissue acquisition techniques such as CT-guided fine-needle aspiration, navigational bronchoscopy, and endobronchial ultrasonography.
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April 2018

Timeliness of Care and Lung Cancer Tumor-Stage Progression: How Long Can We Wait?

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 Dec 21;104(6):1791-1797. Epub 2017 Oct 21.

Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee. Electronic address:

Background: Timely care of lung cancer is presumed critical, yet clear evidence of stage progression with delays in care is lacking. We investigated the reasons for delays in treatment and the impact these delays have on tumor-stage progression.

Methods: We queried our retrospective database of 265 veterans who underwent cancer resection from 2005 to 2015. We extracted time intervals between nodule identification, diagnosis, and surgical resection; changes in nodule radiographic size over time; final pathologic staging; and reasons for delays in care. Pearson's correlation and Fisher's exact test were used to compare cancer growth and stage by time to treatment.

Results: Median time from referral to surgical evaluation was 11 days (interquartile range, 8 to 17). Median time from identification to therapeutic resection was 98 days (interquartile range, 66 to 139), and from diagnosis to resection, 53 days (interquartile range, 35 to 77). Sixty-eight patients (26%) were diagnosed at resection; the remainder had preoperative tissue diagnoses. No significant correlation existed between tumor growth and time between nodule identification and resection, or between tumor growth and time between diagnosis and resection. Among 197 patients with preoperative diagnoses, 42% (83) had intervals longer than 60 days between diagnosis and resection. Most common reasons for delay were cardiac clearance, staging, and smoking cessation. Larger nodules had fewer days between identification and resection (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Evaluation, staging, and smoking cessation drive resection delays. The lack of association between tumor growth and time to treatment suggests other clinical or biological factors, not time alone, underlie growth risk. Until these factors are identified, delays to diagnosis and treatment should be minimized.
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December 2017

Predicting lung cancer prior to surgical resection in patients with lung nodules.

J Thorac Oncol 2014 Oct;9(10):1477-84

*Department of Surgery, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Veterans Affairs, Nashville, Tennessee; ††Department of Thoracic Surgery, §Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, ¶Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and **School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee; †Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; and ‡Department of Critical Care Medicine, ‖Department of Radiology, and #Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center.

Background: Existing predictive models for lung cancer focus on improving screening or referral for biopsy in general medical populations. A predictive model calibrated for use during preoperative evaluation of suspicious lung lesions is needed to reduce unnecessary operations for a benign disease. A clinical prediction model (Thoracic Research Evaluation And Treatment [TREAT]) is proposed for this purpose.

Methods: We developed and internally validated a clinical prediction model for lung cancer in a prospective cohort evaluated at our institution. Best statistical practices were used to construct, evaluate, and validate the logistic regression model in the presence of missing covariate data using bootstrap and optimism corrected techniques. The TREAT model was externally validated in a retrospectively collected Veteran Affairs population. The discrimination and calibration of the model was estimated and compared with the Mayo Clinic model in both the populations.

Results: The TREAT model was developed in 492 patients from Vanderbilt whose lung cancer prevalence was 72% and validated among 226 Veteran Affairs patients with a lung cancer prevalence of 93%. In the development cohort, the area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) and Brier score were 0.87 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83-0.92) and 0.12, respectively compared with the AUC 0.89 (95% CI, 0.79-0.98) and Brier score 0.13 in the validation dataset. The TREAT model had significantly higher accuracy (p < 0.001) and better calibration than the Mayo Clinic model (AUC = 0.80; 95% CI, 75-85; Brier score = 0.17).

Conclusion: The validated TREAT model had better diagnostic accuracy than the Mayo Clinic model in preoperative assessment of suspicious lung lesions in a population being evaluated for lung resection.
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October 2014

Tissue-based coronary surgery simulation: medical student deliberate practice can achieve equivalency to senior surgery residents.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2013 Jun 15;145(6):1453-8; discussion 1458-9. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Thoracic Surgery, Nashville, Tenn, USA.

Objective: The study objective was to assess the impact of dedicated instruction and deliberate practice on fourth-year medical students' proficiency in performing a coronary anastomosis using a porcine heart model, compared with nonsimulator-trained senior general surgery residents.

Methods: Ten fourth-year medical students were trained to perform a coronary anastomosis using the porcine simulator. Students trained for 4 months using deliberate practice methodology and one-on-one instruction. At the end of the training, each student was filmed performing a complete anastomosis. Eleven senior general surgery residents were filmed performing an anastomosis after a single tutorial. All films were graded by 3 independent cardiac surgeons in a blinded fashion. The primary outcome was the median final score (range, 1-10) of a modified Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill scale. The secondary outcome was time to completion in seconds. Statistical analysis used both parametric (Student t test) and nonparametric (Wilcoxon rank-sum) methods.

Results: The median combined final score for medical students was 3 (interquartile range, 2.3-4.8), compared with 4 (interquartile range, 3.3-5.3) for residents (P = .102). The overall median individual final scores were 3 (interquartile range, 2-6) for grader 1, 3 (interquartile range, 2-5) for grader 2, and 4 (interquartile range, 3-5) for grader 3. For each individual grader, there was no difference in median final scores between medical students and residents. The mean time to completion was 792.7 seconds (95% confidence interval, 623.4-962) for medical students and 659 seconds (95% confidence interval, 599.1-719) for residents (P = .118).

Conclusions: Dedicated instruction of fourth-year medical students with deliberate and distributed practice of microvascular techniques using a porcine end-to-side coronary artery anastomosis simulation model results in performance comparable to that of senior general surgery residents. These results suggest that focused tissue simulator training can compress the learning curve to acquire technical proficiency in comparison with real-time training.
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June 2013

Obesity increases operating room time for lobectomy in the society of thoracic surgeons database.

Ann Thorac Surg 2012 Dec 4;94(6):1841-7. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.

Background: Obesity has become a major epidemic in the United States. Although research suggests obesity does not increase major morbidity or mortality after thoracic operations, it likely results in greater use of health care resources.

Methods: We examined all patients in The Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic Surgery database with primary lung cancer who underwent lobectomy from 2006 to 2010. We investigated the impact of body mass index (BMI) on total operating room time using a linear mixed-effects regression model and multiple imputations to account for missing data. Secondary outcomes included postoperative length of stay and 30-day mortality. Covariates included age, sex, race, forced expiratory volume, smoking status, Zubrod score, prior chemotherapy or radiation, steroid use, number of comorbidities, surgical approach, hospital lobectomy volume, hospital percent obesity, and the addition of mediastinoscopy or wedge resection.

Results: A total of 19,337 patients were included. The mean BMI was 27.3 kg/m2, with 4,898 patients (25.3%) having a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater. The mean total operating room time, length of stay, and 30-day mortality were 240 minutes, 6.7 days, and 1.8%, respectively. For every 10-unit increase in BMI, mean operating room time increased by 7.2 minutes (range, 4.8 to 8.4 minutes; p<0.0001). Higher hospital lobectomy volume and hospital percentage of obese patients did not affect the association between BMI and operative time. Body mass index was not associated with 30-day mortality or increased length of stay.

Conclusions: Increased BMI is associated with increased total operating room time, regardless of institutional experience with obese patients.
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December 2012

Poor survival for veterans with pathologic stage I non-small-cell lung cancer.

Am J Surg 2012 Nov 18;204(5):637-42. Epub 2012 Aug 18.

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

Background: Pathologic stage (pStage) IA and IB non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has a median survival time of 119 and 81 months, respectively. We describe the outcomes of veterans with pStage I NSCLC.

Methods: A retrospective review of 78 patients with pStage I NSCLC who underwent cancer resection was performed at the Tennessee Valley Veterans Affairs Hospital between 2005 and 2010. All-cause 30-day, 90-day, and overall mortality were determined. Survival was assessed with the Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards methods.

Results: There were 55 (71%) pStage IA and 23 (29%) IB patients. Thirty- and 90-day mortality was 3.8% (3 of 78) and 6.4% (5 of 78), respectively. Median survival was 59 and 28 months for pStage 1A and 1B, respectively. Postoperative events were associated with impaired survival on multivariable analysis (hazard ratio, 1.26, P = .03).

Conclusions: Veterans with pStage I NSCLC at our institution have poorer survival than the general population. More research is needed to determine the etiology of this disparity.
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November 2012

Constrictive bronchiolitis in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

N Engl J Med 2011 Jul;365(3):222-30

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: In this descriptive case series, 80 soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with inhalational exposures during service in Iraq and Afghanistan were evaluated for dyspnea on exertion that prevented them from meeting the U.S. Army's standards for physical fitness.

Methods: The soldiers underwent extensive evaluation of their medical and exposure history, physical examination, pulmonary-function testing, and high-resolution computed tomography (CT). A total of 49 soldiers underwent thoracoscopic lung biopsy after noninvasive evaluation did not provide an explanation for their symptoms. Data on cardiopulmonary-exercise and pulmonary-function testing were compared with data obtained from historical military control subjects.

Results: Among the soldiers who were referred for evaluation, a history of inhalational exposure to a 2003 sulfur-mine fire in Iraq was common but not universal. Of the 49 soldiers who underwent lung biopsy, all biopsy samples were abnormal, with 38 soldiers having changes that were diagnostic of constrictive bronchiolitis. In the remaining 11 soldiers, diagnoses other than constrictive bronchiolitis that could explain the presenting dyspnea were established. All soldiers with constrictive bronchiolitis had normal results on chest radiography, but about one quarter were found to have mosaic air trapping or centrilobular nodules on chest CT. The results of pulmonary-function and cardiopulmonary-exercise testing were generally within normal population limits but were inferior to those of the military control subjects.

Conclusions: In 49 previously healthy soldiers with unexplained exertional dyspnea and diminished exercise tolerance after deployment, an analysis of biopsy samples showed diffuse constrictive bronchiolitis, which was possibly associated with inhalational exposure, in 38 soldiers.
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July 2011

Thoracic operations for pulmonary nodules are frequently not futile in patients with benign disease.

J Thorac Oncol 2011 Oct;6(10):1720-5

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Introduction: Pulmonary nodules often require operative resection to obtain a diagnosis. However, 10 to 30% of operations result in a benign diagnosis. Our purpose was to determine whether negative thoracic operations are futile by describing the pathological diagnoses; determining new diagnoses and treatment changes initiated based on operative findings; and assessing morbidity, mortality, and cost of the procedure.

Methods: At our academic medical center, 278 thoracic operations were performed for known or suspected cancer between January 1, 2005, and April 1, 2009. We collected and summarized data pertaining to preoperative patient and nodule characteristics, pathologic diagnosis, postoperative treatment changes resulting from surgical resection, perioperative morbidity and mortality, and hospital charges for patients with benign pathology.

Results: Twenty-three percent (65/278) of patients who underwent surgical resection for a suspicious nodule had benign pathology. We report granulomatous disease in 57%, benign tumors in 15%, fibrosis in 12%, and autoimmune and vascular diseases in 9%. Definitive diagnosis or treatment changes occurred in 85% of cases. Surgical intervention led to a new diagnosis in 69%, treatment course changes in 68% of benign cases, medication changes in 38%, new consultation in 31%, definitive treatment in 9%, and underlying disease management in 34%. There was no intraoperative, in-hospital, or 30-day mortality. Postoperative in-hospital events occurred in seven patients. The mean total cost was $25,515 with a mean cost per day of $7618.

Conclusions: Patients with a benign diagnosis after surgical resection for a pulmonary nodule received a new diagnosis or had a treatment course change in 85% of the cases.
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October 2011

Successful treatment of atrioesophageal fistula by cervical esophageal ligation and decompression.

Ann Thorac Surg 2011 Jun;91(6):e85-6

Department of Surgery, The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.

Atrioesophageal fistula is a rare yet devastating complication of transcatheter ablation for atrial fibrillation. This condition requires urgent intervention, but the optimal treatment strategy is yet to be defined. Reported therapies range from endoscopic stenting to direct atrial repair or reconstruction while on cardiopulmonary bypass. Here, we describe the successful management of an atrioesophageal fistula by cervical esophageal ligation and decompression, along with gastric drainage.
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June 2011

Accuracy of FDG-PET to diagnose lung cancer in a region of endemic granulomatous disease.

Ann Thorac Surg 2011 Aug 18;92(2):428-32; discussion 433. Epub 2011 May 18.

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.

Background: The 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is used to evaluate suspicious pulmonary lesions due to its diagnostic accuracy. The southeastern United States has a high prevalence of infectious granulomatous lung disease, and the accuracy of FDG-PET may be reduced in this population. We examined the diagnostic accuracy of FDG-PET in patients with known or suspected non-small cell lung cancer treated at our institution.

Methods: A total of 279 patients, identified through our prospective database, underwent an operation for known or suspected lung cancer. Preoperative FDG-PET in 211 eligible patients was defined by standardized uptake value greater than 2.5 or by description ("moderate" or "intense") as avid. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, likelihood ratios, and decision diagrams were calculated for FDG-PET in all patients and in patients with indeterminate nodules.

Results: In all eligible patients (n=211), sensitivity and specificity of FDG-PET were 92% and 40%, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values were 86% and 55%. Overall FDG-PET accuracy to diagnose lung cancer was 81%. Preoperative positive likelihood ratio for FDG-PET diagnosis of lung cancer in this population was 1.5 compared with previously published values of 7.1. In 113 indeterminate lesions, 65% had lung cancer and the sensitivity and specificity were 89% and 40%, respectively. Twenty-four benign nodules (60%) had false positive FDG-PET scans. Twenty-two of 43 benign nodules (51%) were granulomas.

Conclusions: In a region with endemic granulomatous diseases, the specificity of FDG-PET for diagnosis of lung cancer was 40%. Clinical decisions and future clinical predictive models for lung cancer must accommodate regional variation of FDG-PET scan results.
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August 2011

Existing general population models inaccurately predict lung cancer risk in patients referred for surgical evaluation.

Ann Thorac Surg 2011 Jan;91(1):227-33; discussion 233

Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.

Background: Patients undergoing resections for suspicious pulmonary lesions have a 9% to 55% benign rate. Validated prediction models exist to estimate the probability of malignancy in a general population and current practice guidelines recommend their use. We evaluated these models in a surgical population to determine the accuracy of existing models to predict benign or malignant disease.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of our thoracic surgery quality improvement database (2005 to 2008) to identify patients who underwent resection of a pulmonary lesion. Patients were stratified into subgroups based on age, smoking status, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) results. The probability of malignancy was calculated for each patient using the Mayo and solitary pulmonary nodules prediction models. Receiver operating characteristic and calibration curves were used to measure model performance.

Results: A total of 189 patients met selection criteria; 73% were malignant. Patients with preoperative PET scans were divided into four subgroups based on age, smoking history, and nodule PET avidity. Older smokers with PET-avid lesions had a 90% malignancy rate. Patients with PET-nonavid lesions, PET-avid lesions with age less than 50 years, or never smokers of any age had a 62% malignancy rate. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the Mayo and solitary pulmonary nodules models was 0.79 and 0.80, respectively; however, the models were poorly calibrated (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Despite improvements in diagnostic and imaging techniques, current general population models do not accurately predict lung cancer among patients referred for surgical evaluation. Prediction models with greater accuracy are needed to identify patients with benign disease to reduce nontherapeutic resections.
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January 2011

Diagnostic characteristics of a serum biomarker in patients with positron emission tomography scans.

Ann Thorac Surg 2010 Jun;89(6):1724-8; discussion 1728-9

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.

Background: Surgery for pulmonary nodules results in a benign diagnosis in 10% to 30% of cases. Computed tomography and fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) are highly sensitive but less specific. High-risk patients (age > 55 years and smoke > 15 pack-years) for lung cancer with negative FDG-PET scans, or low-risk patients (age < 55 years or smoke < 15 pack-years) with FDG-PET-avid lesions may have higher rates of benign nodules. We hypothesized that our serum biomarker improves diagnostic accuracy by providing greater specificity.

Methods: Fifty-eight patients with pulmonary nodules (< or = 3 cm) were prospectively enrolled. We tested the accuracy of our proteomic biomarker in the serum by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Malignancy rates, contingency tables, sensitivity, and specificity analyses were calculated for the entire group and in a subset of patients at high risk for benign disease.

Results: We identified 46 (79%) lung cancers and 12 (21%) benign lesions. Forty-five nodules were FDG-PET-avid. In 36 high-risk patients with FDG-PET-avid lesions, 32 (89%) had cancer. Of the remaining 22 lower-risk patients, 14 (64%) had cancer (p = 0.02). The serum biomarker sensitivity was 26.1%, specificity was 91.7%, positive predictive value was 92%, negative predictive value was 24%, and overall accuracy was 40%. The serum signature accurately predicted all eight benign nodules in this 22-patient subset.

Conclusions: The serum protein biomarker has a high specificity. This biomarker has a high positive predictive value but low negative predictive value and may improve noninvasive evaluation of lung nodules. Validation in a larger population is warranted.
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June 2010

Cytoplasmic clusterin expression is associated with longer survival in patients with resected non small cell lung cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2007 Sep;16(9):1845-51

Department of Radiation Oncology, Vanderbilt University, 1301 Medical Center Drive, B-902 The Vanderbilt Clinic, Nashville, TN 37232-5671, USA.

Background: Clusterin is a glycoprotein that has been implicated in many processes, including apoptosis, cell cycle regulation, and DNA repair. Previous studies have examined the prognostic value of clusterin expression in various malignancies. In the present study, we examined clusterin staining in tumors resected from patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Materials And Methods: Tumor specimens were obtained for 113 patients with completely resected NSCLC from paraffin-embedded tissue microarrays and stained with an antibody specific for clusterin. Staining patterns were observed and graded based on intensity and then correlated with clinical data.

Results: Positive cytoplasmic clusterin staining was observed in 44 patients, and weak/negative staining was observed in 62 patients. Patients who had tumors that stained positive for cytoplasmic clusterin had significantly longer survival in multivariate analysis (hazard ratio 0.487, 95% confidence interval 0.27-0.89). A correlation was also observed for recurrence-free survival, which approached statistical significance (hazard ratio 0.345, 95% confidence interval 0.12-1.02). In univariate analysis, patients with clusterin-positive tumors had a 63% 3-year survival, whereas patients with clusterin-negative tumors had a 42% 3-year survival (P = 0.0108); clusterin-positive tumors also had significantly less recurrence (P = 0.0231).

Conclusions: Cytoplasmic clusterin staining is present in a substantial number of NSCLC tumors and may be a biomarker for longer survival in patients with surgically resected NSCLC.
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September 2007

Cardiovascular complications after lung surgery.

Thorac Surg Clin 2006 Aug;16(3):253-60

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1301 22nd Avenue South, 2971 The Vanderbilt Clinic, Nashville, TN 37232-5734, USA.

Cardiovascular complications following thoracic surgery remain a challenge to the physician, the hospital, and the health care system. These events add significantly to morbidity, mortality, and the cost of care of the general thoracic surgery patient. A proactive approach to identify patients at high risk for such complications is needed. In this manner, one may enhance prevention and treatment if problems occur. A thoughtful and complete preoperative risk assessment can identify patients who have potential contributing comorbidities, leading to a reduced incidence of postoperative events. Standardization of preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care can reduce postoperative events. Implementation of guidelines and pathways that are evidence based can lead to enhanced patient care, better patient and staff satisfaction, and improved outcomes from the operation. Although postoperative cardiac events cannot be completely eliminated from the thoracic surgery population, the prevention, treatment, and follow-up strategies outlined herein can attenuate these significant morbid and mortal events.
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August 2006