CT tumor volume measurement in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: Performance characteristics of an emerging clinical tool

Acad Radiol. 2011 Jan;18(1):54-62. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2010.08.021. Epub 2010 Oct 30.


Rationale and objectives: Determine inter- and intraobserver variability of computed tomography (CT) tumor volume measurements in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated in a Phase II clinical trial using chest CT.

Materials and methods: Twenty-three advanced NSCLC patients with a total of 53 measurable lung lesions enrolled in a Phase II, multicenter, open-label clinical trial of erlotinib were retrospectively studied with institutional review board approval. Two radiologists independently measured the tumor size, volume, and CT attenuation coefficient using commercially available volume analysis software. Concordance correlation coefficients (CCCs) and Bland-Altman plots were used to assess inter- and intraobserver agreement.

Results: High CCCs (0.949-0.990) were observed in all types of measurements for interobserver agreement. The 95% limits of agreements for volume, unidimensional, and bidimensional measurements were (-26.0%, 18.6%), (-23.1%, 24.4%), and (-34.0%, 48.6%), respectively. Volume measurement had slightly higher CCC and narrower 95% limits of agreement compared to uni- and bidimensional measurements. CCCs for intraobserver agreement were high (range, 0.946-0.996) with CCC for volume being slightly higher than CCCs of uni- and bidimensional measurements. The smaller the tumor volume was, the larger the interobserver difference of CT attenuation. Location, morphology, or adjacent atelectasis had no significant impact on inter- or intraobserver variability.

Conclusion: CT tumor volume measurement in advanced NSCLC patients using clinical chest CT and commercially available software demonstrated high inter- and intraobserver agreement, indicating that the method may be used routinely in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Iohexol / analogs & derivatives
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tumor Burden*


  • Contrast Media
  • Iohexol
  • iopromide