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Br J Radiol. 2000 Dec;73(876):1252-9.

Growth rate of small lung cancers detected on mass CT screening.

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Department of Radiology, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan.


CT has recently been used in mass screening for lung cancer. Small cancers have been identified but the growth characteristics of these lesions are not fully understood. We identified 82 primary cancers in our 3-year mass CT screening programme, of which 61 were examined in the present study. The volume doubling time (VDT) was calculated based on the exponential model using successive annual CT images or follow-up CT images. All cases were also examined in the hospital by high resolution CT (HRCT). Lesions were divided into three types based on HRCT characteristics: type G (n = 19), ground glass opacity (GGO); type GS (n = 19), focal GGO with a solid central component; and type S (n = 23), solid nodule. 18 (95%) lesions of type G, 18 (95%) of type GS and 7 (30%) of type S were invisible on conventional chest radiographs. The mean size of the tumour was 10 mm, 11 mm and 16 mm for type G, type GS and type S, respectively. Most tumours (80%) were adenocarcinomas; 78% of these were GGO (type G and GS). Mean VDT values were 813 days, 457 days and 149 days for type G, type GS and type S, respectively; these are significantly different from each other (p < 0.05). Our results show that annual mass screening CT for 3 successive years resulted in the identification of a large number of slowly growing adenocarcinomas that were not visible on chest radiographs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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