Purpose: To retrospectively compare the clinical, pathological, and thin-section CT features of persistent multiple ground-glass opacity (GGO) nodules with those of solitary GGO nodules.
Materials and methods: Histopathologic specimens were obtained from 193 GGO nodules in 136 patients (87 women, 49 men; mean age, 57; age range 33-81). The clinical data, pathologic findings, and thin-section CT features of multiple and solitary GGO nodules were compared by using t-test or Fisher's exact test.
Results: Multiple GGO nodules (n=105) included atypical adenomatous hyperplasia (AAH) (n=31), bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) (n=33), adenocarcinoma (n=34) and focal interstitial fibrosis (n=7). Solitary GGO nodules included AAH (n=8), BAC (n=15), adenocarcinoma (n=55) and focal interstitial fibrosis (n=10). AAH (P=.001) and BAC (P=.029) were more frequent in multiple GGO nodules, whereas adenocarcinoma (P<.001) was more frequent in solitary GGO nodules. Female sex (P<.001), nonsmoker (P=.012) and multiple primary lung cancers (P<.001) were more frequent for multiple GGO nodules, which were smaller (12 mm+/-7.9) than solitary GGO nodules (17 mm+/-8.1) (P<.001). Air-bronchogram (P=.019), bubble-lucency (P=.004), and pleural retraction (P<.001) were more frequent in solitary GGO nodules. There was no postoperative recurrence except for one patient with multiple GGO nodules and one with solitary GGO nodule.
Conclusion: Clinical, pathological, and thin-section CT features of persistent multiple GGO nodules were found to differ from those of solitary GGO nodules. Nevertheless, the two nodule types can probably be followed up and managed in a similar manner because their prognoses were found to be similar.