To CT or not to CT: Questioning the Cost-Effectiveness of CT Thorax in Head and Neck Cancers

Nawaz Usman, Preethi S. Shetty, Punit Singh Dikhit, Diksha Dinker, Naveena A.N. Kumar, Akhil Palod, Koteshwara Prakashini, Priya P. Sankaran, G. Somu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Computed tomography (CT) scan has been an integral part of the diagnostic workup for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Our study was designed to find out the incidence of distant metastasis and second primary tumor and to correlate the cost-effectiveness of CT thorax in detecting the same. This study was conducted among 326 cancer patients who visited our center with curative intent in the year 2021, with lesions in various head and neck subsites. Data were collected based on their pathological TNM staging and the presence of distant metastasis as evident on their CT thorax imaging with various variables related to the disease. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated for detecting a single metastatic deposit and second primary tumor in terms of Indian currency and was correlated to each subsite and stage of disease at presentation. Out of these 326 patients, 281 patients were included in our study after considering the inclusion criteria, and among these 281 patients, 235 of them underwent CT thorax for metastatic workup. No patient was found to have a second primary. Metastases were found in 12 patients. The site of primary lesion and clinical tumor (cT) staging were found to be significantly influencing the incidence of metastasis on CT thorax. ICER was least for larynx, pharynx, and paranasal sinuses and was highest for oral cavity primaries and early-stage disease. As per our observations and results of ICER, CT thorax is indeed a valuable modality but should be used judiciously when it comes to initial diagnostic workup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 03-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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