Contemporary Concise Review 2021: Pulmonary nodules from detection to intervention

Respirology. 2022 Sep;27(9):776-785. doi: 10.1111/resp.14296. Epub 2022 May 17.


The US Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) has updated screening criteria by expanding age range and reducing smoking history required for eligibility; the International Lung Screen Trial (ILST) data have shown that PLCOM2012 performs better for eligibility than USPSTF criteria. Screening adherence is low (4%-6% of potential eligible candidates in the United States) and depends upon multiple system and patient/candidate-related factors. Smoking cessation in lung cancer improves survival (past prospective trial data, updated meta-analysis data); smoking cessation is an essential component of lung cancer screening. Circulating biomarkers are emerging to optimize screening and early diagnosis. COVID-19 continues to affect lung cancer treatment and screening through delays and disruptions; specific operational challenges need to be met. Over 70% of suspected malignant lesions develop in the periphery of the lungs. Bronchoscopic navigational techniques have been steadily improving to allow greater accuracy with target lesion approximation and therefore diagnostic yield. Fibre-based imaging techniques provide real-time microscopic tumour visualization, with potential diagnostic benefits. With significant advances in peripheral lung cancer localization, bronchoscopically delivered ablative therapies are an emerging field in limited stage primary and oligometastatic disease. In advanced stage lung cancer, small-volume samples acquired through bronchoscopic techniques yield material of sufficient quantity and quality to support clinically relevant biomarker assessment.

Keywords: biomarkers; confocal; implementation; interventional pulmonology; lung cancer; navigational bronchoscopy; photodynamic; screening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Multiple Pulmonary Nodules*
  • Prospective Studies