Small pulmonary nodules in baseline and incidence screening rounds of low-dose CT lung cancer screening
Currently, lung cancer screening by low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is widely recommended for high-risk individuals by US guidelines, but there still is an ongoing debate concerning respective recommendations for European countries. Nevertheless, the available data regarding pulmonary nodules released by lung cancer screening studies could improve future screening guidelines, as well as the clinical practice of incidentally detected pulmonary nodules on routine CT scans. Most lung cancer screening trials present results for baseline and incidence screening rounds separately, clustering pulmonary nodules initially found at baseline screening and newly detected pulmonary nodules after baseline screening together. This approach does not appreciate possible differences among pulmonary nodules detected at baseline and firstly detected at incidence screening rounds and is heavily influenced by methodological differences of the respective screening trials. This review intends to create a basis for assessing non-calcified pulmonary nodules detected during LDCT lung cancer screening in a more clinical relevant manner. The aim is to present data of non-calcified pulmonary baseline nodules and new non-calcified pulmonary incident nodules without clustering them together, thereby also simplifying translation to the clinical practice of incidentally detected pulmonary nodules. Small pulmonary nodules newly detected at incidence screening rounds of LDCT lung cancer screening may possess a greater lung cancer probability than pulmonary baseline nodules at a smaller size, which is essential for the development of new guidelines.