How to deal with incidentally detected pulmonary nodules less than 10 mm in size on CT in a healthy person

SC Westeinde, Harry de Koning, DM Xu, Henk Hoogsteden, RJ Klaveren

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The high frequency of non-calcified pulmonary nodules (NCN) < 10mm incidentally detected on a multi-detector CT (MDCT) of the chest raises the question of how clinicians and radiologists should deal with these nodules. Management algorithms for solitary pulmonary nodules > 10 mm do not carry across to sub-centimeter lesions. Purpose of this review is to provide a 10-step approach for routinely detected sub-centimeter NCN on a MDCT in healthy persons in order to be able to make an optimal discrimination between benign and malignant NCNs. Recommendations are primarily based on individual cancer risk, the presence or absence of calcifications and nodule size. In nodules >4-5 mm nodule consistency, margin and shape should be taken into account. Next steps in the nodule evaluation are the assessment of localization, nodule number, presence or absence of growth and volume doubling time. Growth is defined as a volume doubling time of 400 days or less, based on volumetry. For nodules <4 mm, a follow-up CT at 12 months is recommended in high risk persons, whilst for low-risk persons no follow-up is needed. If no growth is observed at 12 months, no further follow-up is required. For solid, smooth or attached indeterminate NCN between 5 and 10 mm we recommend an annual repeat scan, whilst for purely intra-parenchymal nodules a 3-month repeat scan should be made to assess growth. Growing lesions with a volume doubling time <400 days require further work-up and diagnosis, otherwise an annual repeat scan to assess growth is recommended. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-42-02
  • EMC NIHES-02-65-01

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