The effect of late-phase contrast enhancement on semi-automatic software measurements of CT attenuation and volume of part-solid nodules in lung adenocarcinomas

J. Cohen, J. Goo, R. Yoo, S. Park, B. van Ginneken, G. Ferretti, C. Lee and C. Park

European Journal of Radiology 2016;85(6):1174-1180.

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To evaluate the differences in semi-automatic measurements of CT attenuation and volume of part-solid nodules (PSNs) between unenhanced and enhanced CT scans.CT scans including unenhanced and enhanced phases (slice thickness 0.625 and 1.25mm, respectively) for 53 adenocarcinomas presenting as PSNs in 50 patients were retrospectively evaluated. For each nodule, semi-automatic segmentation provided the diameter, mean attenuation, mass, and volume of a whole nodule and its solid component. Interscan variability and statistical significance of the differences in those measures according to the adenocarcinoma category were evaluated by one reader.All parameters except for the mean attenuation of the solid components, were significantly increased on enhanced CT (p<0.05). For the whole nodule, the mean relative differences were as follows: the longest diameter, 1.4\% (limits of agreement, -6.2-9.1); volume, 2.4\% (-26.7-31.4); mass, 7.0\% (-11.3-25.2); mean attenuation, 2.7\% (-5.6-11). For the nodule's solid component, those differences were as follow: the longest diameter, 6.9\% (-34.4-48.2); volume, 17.9\% (-77.8-113.7); mass, 18.8\% (-77.8-115.4). The differences of measures between the unenhanced and enhanced CT were not significantly different between two groups of adenocarcinoma in situ/minimally invasive adenocarcinomas and invasive adenocarcinomas (p>0.05).As most volumetric and attenuation measurements changed significantly after contrast enhancement, care should be taken in comparing unenhanced and enhanced CT in the evaluation of PSNs.