Radiologic Features of Nodules Attached to the Mediastinal or Diaphragmatic Pleura at Low-Dose CT for Lung Cancer Screening

Yeqing Zhu, Rowena Yip, Jiafang Zhang, Qiang Cai, Qi Sun, Pengfei Li, Natela Paksashvili, Natthaya Triphuridet, Claudia I. Henschke, David F. Yankelevitz

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Abstract

Background: Pulmonary noncalcified nodules (NCNs) attached to the fissural or costal pleura with smooth margins and triangular or lentiform, oval, or semicircular (LOS) shapes at low-dose CT are recommended for annual follow-up instead of immediate workup. Purpose: To determine whether management of mediastinal or diaphragmatic pleura–attached NCNs (M/DP-NCNs) with the same features as fissural or costal pleura–attached NCNs at low-dose CT can follow the same recommendations. Materials and Methods: This retrospective study reviewed chest CT examinations in participants from two databases. Group A included 1451 participants who had lung cancer that was first present as a solid nodule with an average diameter of 3.0–30.0 mm. Group B included 345 consecutive participants from a lung cancer screening program who had at least one solid nodule with a diameter of 3.0–30.0 mm at baseline CT and underwent at least three follow-up CT examinations. Radiologists reviewed CT images to identify solid M/DP-NCNs, defined as nodules 0 mm in distance from the mediastinal or diaphragmatic pleura, and recorded average diameter, margin, and shape. General descriptive statistics were used. Results: Among the 1451 participants with lung cancer in group A, 163 participants (median age, 68 years [IQR, 61.5–75.0 years]; 92 male participants) had 164 malignant M/DP-NCNs 3.0–30.0 mm in average diameter. None of the 164 malignant M/DP-NCNs had smooth margins and triangular or LOS shapes (upper limit of 95% CI of proportion, 0.02). Among the 345 consecutive screening participants in group B, 146 participants (median age, 65 years [IQR, 59–71 years]; 81 female participants) had 240 M/DP-NCNs with average diameter 3.0–30.0 mm. None of the M/DP-NCNs with smooth margins and triangular or LOS shapes were malignant after a median follow-up of 57.8 months (IQR, 46.3–68.1 months). Conclusion: For solid M/DP-NCNs with smooth margins and triangular or LOS shapes at low-dose CT, the risk of lung cancer is extremely low, which supports the recommendation of Lung Imaging Reporting and Data System version 2022 for annual follow-up instead of immediate workup.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere231219
JournalRadiology
Volume310
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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