Purpose: Because incidental thyroid nodules (ITNs) are common extrapulmonary findings in low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans for lung cancer screening, we aimed to investigate the frequency of ITNs on LDCT scans separately on baseline and annual repeat scans, the frequency of malignancy among the ITNs, and any association with demographic, clinical, CT characteristics. Methods: Retrospective case series of all 2309 participants having baseline and annual repeat screening in an Early Lung and Cardiac Action Program (MS-ELCAP) LDCT lung screening program from January 2010 to December 2016 was performed. Frequency of ITNs in baseline and annual repeat rounds were determined. Multivariable regression analysis was performed to identify significant predictors. Results: Dominant ITNs were seen in 2.5 % of 2309 participants on baseline and in 0.15 % of participants among 4792 annual repeat LDCTs. The low incidence of new ITNs suggests slow growth as it would take approximately an average of 16.8 years for a new ITN to be detected on annual rounds of screening. Newly detected ITNs on annual repeat LDCT were all smaller than 15 mm. Regression analysis showed that the increasing of age, coronary artery calcifications score and breast density grade were significant predictors for females having an ITN. No significant predictors were found for ITNs in males. Conclusion: ITNs are detected at LDCT however, no malignancy was found. Certain predictors for ITNs in females have been identified including breast density, which may point towards a common causal pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110162
JournalClinical Imaging
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • CT scan
  • Screening
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid nodules


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