Pathologically proved nonspecific interstitial pneumonia: CT pattern analysis as compared with usual interstitial pneumonia CT pattern

Radiology. 2014 Aug;272(2):549-56. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14130853. Epub 2014 Mar 22.


Purpose: To assess the variability of computed tomography (CT) patterns in patients with pathologic nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) and to evaluate correlation of CT patterns with new idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) classification guidelines, including pathologic diagnosis and predicted mortality.

Materials and methods: The ethical review boards of the five institutions that contributed cases waived the need for informed consent for retrospective review of patient records and images. The study included 114 patients with (a) a pathologic diagnosis of idiopathic NSIP (n = 39) or (b) a pathologic diagnosis of usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) and a clinical diagnosis of IPF (n = 75). Two groups of independent observers evaluated the extent and distribution of various CT findings and identified the following five patterns: UIP, possible UIP, indeterminate (either UIP or NSIP), NSIP, and suggestive of an alternative diagnosis. CT findings were compared with pathologic diagnoses and outcome from clinical findings by using the log-rank test and Kaplan-Meier curves.

Results: Radiologists classified 17 cases as UIP, 24 as possible UIP, 13 as indeterminate (either UIP or NSIP), and 56 as NSIP. In 35 of 39 patients with pathologic NSIP, a diagnosis of NSIP was made with CT. On the basis of CT interpretations, the mean overall survival time of patients with UIP, possible UIP, indeterminate findings, or NSIP was 33.5, 73.0, 101.0, and 140.2 months, respectively. Outcome of patients with a CT diagnosis of UIP was significantly worse than that of patients with a pattern of possible UIP, indeterminate findings, or NSIP (log-rank test: P = .013, P = .018, and P < .001, respectively).

Conclusion: CT pattern in patients with pathologic NSIP is more uniform than that in patients with pathologic UIP, and CT NSIP pattern is associated with better patient outcome than is CT UIP pattern.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias / diagnostic imaging*
  • Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias / mortality
  • Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias / pathology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*