Volume versus diameter assessment of small pulmonary nodules in CT lung cancer screening
Currently, lung cancer screening by low-dose chest CT is implemented in the United States for high-risk persons. A disadvantage of lung cancer screening is the large number of small-to-intermediate sized lung nodules, detected in around 50% of all participants, the large majority being benign. Accurate estimation of nodule size and growth is essential in the classification of lung nodules. Currently, manual diameter measurements are the standard for lung cancer screening programs and routine clinical care. However, European screening studies using semi-automated volume measurements have shown higher accuracy and reproducibility compared to diameter measurements. In addition to this, with the optimization of CT scan techniques and reconstruction parameters, as well as advances in segmentation software, the accuracy of nodule volume measurement can be improved even further. The positive results of previous studies on volume and diameter measurements of lung nodules suggest that manual measurements of nodule diameter may be replaced by semi-automated volume measurements in the (near) future.