Malignant pleural mesothelioma: The role of computed tomography

  • Herman I. Libshitz
    Address reprint requests to: Herman I. Libshitz, MD, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Texas System Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, 6723 Bertner, Houston, Texas 77030.
    From the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Texas System Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston, Texas, USA
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      Computed tomography is believed to have a definite role in the evaluation of malignant pleural mesothelioma based on a review of computed tomography findings in 23 of our patients and previous reports. Twelve patients had a single computed tomography examination, and 11 had two or more studies. Computed tomography permits better appreciation of the extent of the tumor. This permits appropriate selection of therapy and may demonstrate that surgery or radiotherapy is not indicated. computed tomography often permits more accurate evaluation following chemotherapy and may be the only means by which to follow a patient after radical surgery. Computed tomography also has a role in differential diagnosis. It facilitates distinction of malignant pleural mesothelioma from rounded atelectasis, pleural changes of asbestosis, and pleural involvement with lymphoma and thymoma. It aids, but may not be diagnostic, in separating malignant pleural mesothelioma from metastases to the pleura.


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