Purpose: To assess in vivo volumetric repeatability of an automated software algorithm in pulmonary nodules detected during a lung cancer screening trial.
Materials and methods: This study was approved by an institutional review board. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants. Data were collected from the Multicentric Italian Lung Detection project, a randomized controlled lung cancer screening trial. The first 1236 consecutive baseline computed tomographic (CT) studies performed at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori of Milan were evaluated. Among the enrolled participants, those who underwent repeat low-dose CT after 3 months and had at least one indeterminate nodule with a volume of more than 60 mm(3) (diameter of 4.8 mm or greater) were considered. Nonsolid, part-solid, and pleural-based nodules were excluded from this study. A descriptive analysis was performed by calculating means and standard deviations of nodule volumes at three assessment times (at baseline and 3 and 12 months later). The volume measurement repeatability was determined by using the approach described by Bland and Altman.
Results: One hundred one subjects (70 men, 31 women; mean age, 58 years) with 233 eligible nodules (mean volume, 98.3 mm(3); range, 5-869 mm(3)) were identified. The 95% confidence interval for difference in measured volumes was in the range of +/-27%. About 70% of measurements had a relative difference in nodule volume of less than 10%. No malignant lesions were registered during the follow-up of these subjects.
Conclusion: Semiautomatic volumetry is sufficiently accurate and repeatable and may be useful in assisting with lung nodule management in a lung cancer screening program.