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PLoS One. 2015 Sep 17;10(9):e0138144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138144. eCollection 2015.

Reproducibility of Volumetric Computed Tomography of Stable Small Pulmonary Nodules with Implications on Estimated Growth Rate and Optimal Scan Interval.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Imaging, Department of Veterans Affairs, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America; Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
2
Department of Medical Imaging, Department of Veterans Affairs, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
3
Center for Quantitative Science, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
4
Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands.
5
European Institute of Oncology, Milano, Italy.
6
Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical Services, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America; Departments of Medicine and Cancer Biology, Thoracic Program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To use clinically measured reproducibility of volumetric CT (vCT) of lung nodules to estimate error in nodule growth rate in order to determine optimal scan interval for patient follow-up.

METHODS:

We performed quantitative vCT on 89 stable non-calcified nodules and 49 calcified nodules measuring 3-13 mm diameter in 71 patients who underwent 3-9 repeat vCT studies for clinical evaluation of pulmonary nodules. Calculated volume standard deviation as a function of mean nodule volume was used to compute error in estimated growth rate. This error was then used to determine the optimal patient follow-up scan interval while fixing the false positive rate at 5%.

RESULTS:

Linear regression of nodule volume standard deviation versus the mean nodule volume for stable non-calcified nodules yielded a slope of 0.057 ± 0.002 (r2 = 0.79, p<0.001). For calcified stable nodules, the regression slope was 0.052 ± 0.005 (r2 = 0.65, p = 0.03). Using this with the error propagation formula, the optimal patient follow-up scan interval was calculated to be 81 days, independent of initial nodule volume.

CONCLUSIONS:

Reproducibility of vCT is excellent, and the standard error is proportional to the mean calculated nodule volume for the range of nodules examined. This relationship constrains statistical certainty of vCT calculated doubling times and results in an optimal scan interval that is independent of the initial nodule volume.

PMID:
26379272
PMCID:
PMC4575025
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0138144
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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