Accuracy of the Vancouver Lung Cancer Risk Prediction Model Compared With That of Radiologists

Chest. 2019 Jul;156(1):112-119. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2019.04.002. Epub 2019 Apr 11.


Background: Risk models have been developed that include the subject's pretest risk profile and imaging findings to predict the risk of cancer in an objective way. We assessed the accuracy of the Vancouver Lung Cancer Risk Prediction Model compared with that of trainee and experienced radiologists using a subset of size-matched nodules from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST).

Methods: One hundred cases from the NLST database were selected (size range, 4-20 mm), including 20 proven cancers and 80 size-matched benign nodules. Three experienced thoracic radiologists and three trainee radiologists were asked to estimate the likelihood of cancer in each case, first independently, and then with knowledge of the model's risk prediction. The results generated by the model alone also were estimated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) for each viewing condition was calculated, and statistical significance in their differences was tested by using the Dorfman-Berbaum-Metz method.

Results: Human observers were more accurate (AUC value of 0.85 ± 0.05 [SD]) than was the model (0.77 ± 0.06) in estimating the risk of malignancy (P = .0010), and use of the model did not improve their accuracy (0.84 ± 0.06). Experienced radiologists performed better than did trainees. Human observers could distinguish benign from malignant nodule morphology more accurately than could the model, which relies mainly on nodule size for risk estimation.

Conclusions: Experienced and trainee radiologists had superior ability to predict the risk of cancer in size-matched nodules from a screening trial compared with that of the Vancouver model, and use of the model did not improve their accuracy.

Keywords: imaging; lung cancer; oncology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Radiologists*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*