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Acad Radiol. 2016 Nov;23(11):1349-1358. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2016.06.002. Epub 2016 Aug 27.

Texture-based Quantification of Centrilobular Emphysema and Centrilobular Nodularity in Longitudinal CT Scans of Current and Former Smokers.

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Quantitative Imaging Lab, National Jewish Health, 1400 Jackson Street, Denver, CO 80206. Electronic address:
Quantitative Imaging Lab, National Jewish Health, 1400 Jackson Street, Denver, CO 80206.



The effect of smoking cessation on centrilobular emphysema (CLE) and centrilobular nodularity (CN), two manifestations of smoking-related lung injury on computed tomography (CT) images, has not been clarified. The objective of this study is to leverage texture analysis to investigate differences in extent of CLE and CN between current and former smokers.


Chest CT scans from 350 current smokers, 401 former smokers, and 25 control subjects were obtained from the multicenter COPDGene Study, a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant study approved by the institutional review board of each participating clinical study center. Additionally, for 215 of these subjects, a follow-up CT scan was obtained approximately 5 years later. For each CT scan, 5000 circular regions of interest (ROIs) of 35-pixel diameter were randomly selected throughout the lungs. The patterns present in each ROI were summarized by 50 computer-extracted texture features. A logistic regression classifier was leveraged to classify each ROI as normal lung, CLE, or CN, and differences in the percentages of normal lung, CLE, and CN by study group were assessed.


Former smokers had significantly more CLE (P <0.01) but less CN (P <0.001) than did current smokers, even after adjustment for important covariates such as patient age, GOLD stage, smoking history, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, gas trapping, and scanner model. Among patients with longitudinal CT scans, continued smoking led to a slight increase in CLE (P = 0.13), whereas sustained abstinence from smoking led to further reduction in CN (P <0.05).


The proposed texture-based approach quantifies the extent of CN and CLE with high precision. Differences in smoking-related lung disease between longitudinal scans of current smokers and longitudinal scans of former smokers suggest that CN may be reversible on smoking cessation.


Chronic obstructive lung disease; computed tomography.; texture analysis

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