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Br J Radiol. 2000 Sep;73(873):930-7.

Rapidly growing small peripheral lung cancers detected by screening CT: correlation between radiological appearance and pathological features.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Japan.


12 peripheral small lung cancers (< 20 mm) of rapid growth (volume doubling time < 150 days), detected by repeated low dose CT screening, were evaluated to examine their CT features and to correlate such features with histopathological findings. Each patient's CT images, including follow-up and thin section CT images, were studied retrospectively to determine tumour growth rate and CT morphological features. Nine of the tumours exhibited a solid tumour growth pattern: seven of these showed a well defined, homogeneous, soft tissue density with spicular or lobulated margin. These seven tumours included small cell lung cancer (n = 3), moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma (n = 2), poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma (n = 1) and squamous cell carcinoma (n = 1). The other two tumours, a moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma and a well differentiated adenocarcinoma, appeared as irregular, soft tissue density nodules with poorly defined margins. The latter exhibited an air bronchogram pattern and a small cavity. The remaining three tumours exhibited a lepidic tumour growth pattern. They showed ground glass opacity or ground glass opacity with a higher density central zone on CT images and were well differentiated adenocarcinomas. In conclusion, most peripheral small lung cancers of rapid growth were adenocarcinomas. They also included small cell lung cancer and squamous cell carcinoma. The majority showed solid tumour growth pattern and lacked an air bronchogram and/or small air spaces in the nodule. Some well differentiated adenocarcinomas with lepidic tumour growth pattern also showed rapid growth.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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