Noncalcified lung nodules: volumetric assessment with thoracic CT

Radiology. 2009 Apr;251(1):26-37. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2511071897.


Lung nodule volumetry is used for nodule diagnosis, as well as for monitoring tumor response to therapy. Volume measurement precision and accuracy depend on a number of factors, including image-acquisition and reconstruction parameters, nodule characteristics, and the performance of algorithms for nodule segmentation and volume estimation. The purpose of this article is to provide a review of published studies relevant to the computed tomographic (CT) volumetric analysis of lung nodules. A number of underexamined areas of research regarding volumetric accuracy are identified, including the measurement of nonsolid nodules, the effects of pitch and section overlap, and the effect of respiratory motion. The need for public databases of phantom scans, as well as of clinical data, is discussed. The review points to the need for continued research to examine volumetric accuracy as a function of a multitude of interrelated variables involved in the assessment of lung nodules. Understanding and quantifying the sources of volumetric measurement error in the assessment of lung nodules with CT would be a first step toward the development of methods to minimize that error through system improvements and to correctly account for any remaining error.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Solitary Pulmonary Nodule / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*