Finally, audience member Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi, professor of surgery at Cornell University in New York City, asked how surgeons should use the data. Should they rush to operate on all patients within 2 weeks to avoid the discovery of more occult metastasis, or wait until 6 weeks for the metastases to declare themselves, since the incidence of occult metastasis appeared to stabilize by then at about 35%?
"One could suggest that if you really wait for 6 weeks, you could probably spare the morbidity of a large operation in 25% of patients who really don’t benefit from it," Dr. Michelassi said.
Dr. Waters said that for patients who are rescanned within 2-3 weeks of cross-sectional imaging and are subsequently found to have a metastatic focus or some evidence of progression, this may be evidence of a more aggressive biology. "This may be a subgroup of patients [whom you] would want to capture by rescanning and potentially not expose to a less than therapeutic laparotomy."
The authors reported no conflicts of interest.