Smooth or Attached Solid Indeterminate Nodules Detected at Baseline CT Screening in the NELSON Study: Cancer Risk during 1 Year of Follow-up

Purpose: To retrospectively determine whether baseline nodule characteristics at 3-month and 1-year volume doubling time (VDT) are predictive for lung cancer in solid indeterminate noncalcified nodules (NCNs) detected at baseline computed tomographic (CT) screening.

Materials and Methods: The study, conducted between April 2004 and May 2006, was institutional review board approved. Patient consent was waived for this retrospective evaluation. NCNs between 5 and 10 mm in diameter (n = 891) were evaluated at 3 months and 1 year to assess growth (VDT < 400 days). Baseline assessments were related to growth at 3 months and 1 year by using χ2 and Mann-Whitney U tests. Baseline assessments and growth were related to the presence of malignancy by using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses.

Results: At 3 months and at 1 year, 8% and 1% of NCNs had grown, of which 15% and 50% were malignant, respectively. One-year growth was related to morphology (P < .01), margin (P < .0001), location (P < .001), and size (P < .01). All cancers were nonspherical and purely intraparenchymal, without attachment to vessels, the pleura, or fissures. In nonsmooth unattached nodules, a volume of 130 mm3 or larger was the only predictor for malignancy (odds ratio, 6.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7, 23.0). After the addition of information on the 3-month VDT, large volume (odds ratio, 4.9; 95% CI: 1.2, 20.1) and 3-month VDT (odds ratio, 15.6; 95% CI: 4.5, 53.5) helped predict malignancy. At 1 year, only the 1-year growth remained (odds ratio, 213.3; 95% CI: 18.7, 2430.9) as predictor for malignancy.

Conclusion: In smooth or attached solid indeterminate NCNs, no malignancies were found at 1-year follow-up. In nonsmooth purely intraparenchymal NCNs, size is the main baseline predictor for malignancy. When follow-up data are available, growth is a strong predictor for malignancy, especially at 1-year follow-up.

© RSNA, 2008

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Article History

Published in print: 2009