Observational Study of the Natural Growth History of Peripheral Small-Cell Lung Cancer on CT Imaging

Xu Jiang, Meng Wen Liu, Xue Zhang, Ji Yan Dong, Lei Miao, Zi Han Sun, Shu Shan Dong, Li Zhang, Lin Yang, Meng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study aimed to investigate the natural growth history of peripheral small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) using CT imaging. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on 27 patients with peripheral SCLC who underwent at least two CT scans. Two methods were used: Method 1 involved direct measurement of nodule dimensions using a calliper, while Method 2 involved tumour lesion segmentation and voxel volume calculation using the “py-radiomics” package in Python. Agreement between the two methods was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Volume doubling time (VDT) and growth rate (GR) were used as evaluation indices for SCLC growth, and growth distribution based on GR and volume measurements were depicted. We collected potential factors related to imaging VDT and performed a differential analysis. Patients were classified into slow-growing and fast-growing groups based on a VDT cut-off point of 60 days, and univariate analysis was used to identify factors influencing VDT. Results: Median VDT calculated by the two methods were 61 days and 71 days, respectively, with strong agreement. All patients had continuously growing tumours, and none had tumours that decreased in size or remained unchanged. Eight patients showed possible growth patterns, with six possibly exhibiting exponential growth and two possibly showing Gompertzian growth. Tumours deeper in the lung grew faster than those adjacent to the pleura. Conclusions: Peripheral SCLC tumours grow rapidly and continuously without periods of nongrowth or regression. Tumours located deeper in the lung tend to grow faster, but further research is needed to confirm this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2560
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • CT
  • small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)
  • solid nodule
  • time factor
  • volume-doubling time (VDT)


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