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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2003 Apr;180(4):955-64.

Small solitary pulmonary nodules (< or =1 cm) detected at population-based CT screening for lung cancer: Reliable high-resolution CT features of benign lesions.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Shinshu University School of Medicine, 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan.



We assessed thin-section CT features specific to benignity in solitary pulmonary nodules of 1 cm or smaller that were detected at population-based CT screening for lung cancer.


Two reviewers independently made qualitative (presence or absence of lobulation, spiculation, air bronchogram, cavity, satellite lesions, pleural tag, concave margins, polygonal shape, and peripheral subpleural lesion) and quantitative (lesion size, percentage of ground-glass opacity areas, and two- and three-dimensional ratios of lesion) assessments in CT images of 72 nodules (25 lung cancers, seven atypical adenomatous hyperplasias, and 40 benign lesions). Optimal criteria specific to benignity were studied.


The prevalence of polygonal shape (p = 0.005 and p = 0.019, reviewer 1 and reviewer 2), peripheral subpleural lesion (p = 0.011 and p = 0.033), a predominantly solid lesion (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001), and three-dimensional ratios (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001) were greater in benign lesions than in malignancies. The prevalence of a predominantly solid lesion (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001) was greater in benign lesions than in atypical adenomatous hyperplasias, and the prevalence of a peripheral subpleural lesion (p = 0.004 and p = 0.012) was greater in atypical adenomatous hyperplasias than in malignancies. Using a single CT feature, polygonal shape and a three-dimensional ratio of greater than 1.78 showed 100% specificity for both reviewers. Among all combinations of CT findings specific to benignity, a combined criterion of a predominantly solid lesion and peripheral subpleural lesion or polygonal shape or the three-dimensional ratio attained the highest sensitivity (63% and 60%) for both reviewers.


A combined criterion of CT features was optimal for predicting benign pulmonary lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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