Imaging manifestations of pleural tumors

Radiographics. 1992 Nov;12(6):1191-201. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.12.6.1439021.


Although radiologic assessment of pleural tumors may be accomplished with several imaging modalities, the standard noninvasive techniques include chest radiography and computed tomography (CT). These examinations may be supplemented with magnetic resonance imaging and occasionally with ultrasound. Depending on the location, size, and underlying histologic features, pleural tumors may produce a spectrum of findings. CT is particularly useful in defining the location and extent of these masses. The authors present a review of basic pleural anatomy and imaging features of both benign and malignant pleural neoplasms. The pleural may be involved by one of several primary or metastatic tumors. Specific cell types are diffuse malignant mesothelioma (the most common plain radiographic findings are unilateral pleural effusion and pleural thickening), localized fibrous tumor (circumscribed, spherical or ovoid, noncalcified lesions arising in the pleural surface), metastatic disease (radiographic findings may mimic those of malignant mesothelioma), and uncommon neoplasms including thymoma and lymphoma. Among these various pleural tumors, metastatic disease represents the most common neoplasm.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mesothelioma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / secondary
  • Thymoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed