A scheme for the automatic detection of nodules in thoracic computed tomography scans is presented and extensively evaluated. The algorithm uses the local image features of shape index and curvedness in order to detect candidate structures in the lung volume and applies two successive k-nearest-neighbour classifiers in the reduction of false-positives. The nodule detection system is trained and tested on three databases extracted from a large-scale experimental screening study. The databases are constructed in order to evaluate the algorithm on both randomly chosen screening data as well as data containing higher proportions of nodules requiring follow-up. The system results are extensively evaluated including performance measurements on specific nodule types and sizes within the databases and on lesions which later proved to be malignant. In a random selection of 813 scans from the screening study a sensitivity of 80% with an average 4.2 false-positives per scan is achieved. The detection results presented are a realistic measure of a CAD system performance in a low-dose screening study which includes a diverse array of nodules of many varying sizes, types and textures.