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Lancet Respir Med. 2015 Jun;3(6):483-96. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(15)00096-X. Epub 2015 May 11.

CT staging and monitoring of fibrotic interstitial lung diseases in clinical practice and treatment trials: a position paper from the Fleischner Society.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiology, Royal Brompton and Harefield National Health Service Foundation Trust, London, UK. Electronic address:
  • 2Radiological Sciences, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
  • 3University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • 4National Department of Radiology, Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO, USA.
  • 5Department of Respiratory Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
  • 6Interstitial Lung Disease Unit, Royal Brompton and Harefield National Health Service Foundation Trust, London, UK.


CT is increasingly being used to stage and quantify the extent of diffuse lung diseases both in clinical practice and in treatment trials. The role of CT in the assessment of patients entering treatment trials has greatly expanded as clinical researchers and pharmaceutical companies have focused their efforts on developing safe and effective drugs for interstitial lung diseases, particularly for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. These efforts have culminated in the simultaneous approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of two new drugs for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. CT features are a key part of the inclusion criteria in many drug trials and CT is now being used to refine the type of patients enrolled. Interest in the potential use of serial CT as an effectiveness endpoint is increasing. For chronic progressive diseases, mortality may not be a feasible endpoint and many surrogate markers have been explored, ranging from pulmonary function decline to biomarkers. However, these surrogate markers are not entirely reliable and combinations of endpoints, including change in disease extent on CT, are being investigated. Methods to assess disease severity with CT range from simple visual estimates to sophisticated quantification by use of software. In this Position Paper, which cannot be regarded as a comprehensive set of guidelines in view of present knowledge, we examine the uses of serial CT in clinical practice and in drug trials and draw attention to uncertainties and challenges for future research.

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