Spontaneous regression of a primary squamous cell lung cancer following biopsy: a case report.
J Med Case Rep. 2018 Mar 12 ;12(1):65. Epub 2018 Mar 12. PMID: 29526162
BACKGROUND: Spontaneous regression has been defined as occurring when the malignant tumor mass partially or completely disappears without any treatment or as a result of a therapy considered inadequate to influence systemic neoplastic disease. Recently, studies have implicated immunological responses as likely being involved. We report a case of a patient with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung who experienced spontaneous regression following biopsy without other intervention.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 57-year-old white man was referred to our pulmonary clinic after an incidental finding of a nodule in the lower lobe of his left lung. Thoracic computed tomography revealed a 2.0× 1.4 × 1.5 cm spiculated nodule in the superior segment of the left lower lobe. Workup identified the mass as a squamous cell carcinoma that was clinically staged as T1M0N0. The patient deferred treatment of this lesion. He undertook no significant lifestyle or medical changes. Three months later, computed tomography revealed that, compared with the initial study, the solitary mass had decreased in size to 1.6 × 0.9 × 0.9 cm. Follow-up computed tomography 1 year after the original workup demonstrated that the nodule had stabilized to its smaller size.
CONCLUSIONS: Studies have shown that immunological response can be initiated by trauma to an area. Because the tumor regression became evident in our patient only after the tissue biopsy, his immune response to the surgical procedure seems to be a plausible contributor to the spontaneous regression. Further understanding of spontaneous regression can potentially impact the identification of neoplastic drug targets or even the course of a patient's treatment plan and goals.