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Classifying solitary pulmonary nodules. New imaging methods to distinguish malignant, benign lesions. Postgrad Med 2003 Aug;114(2):29-35; quiz 16



Pubmed ID





Physicians often are faced with determining benignity or malignancy in solitary pulmonary nodules in order to refer patients appropriately for curative resection of early-stage malignant nodules and to avoid the morbidity and mortality of a surgical procedure for benign nodules. Nodules are easily deemed benign when they are unchanged on chest radiographs over 2 years or have symmetrical patterns of calcification or central fat on chest CT. Similarly, growing, spiculated lesions in older patients with an extensive smoking history or other risk factors for cancer are easily recognized as likely to be malignant. However, solitary pulmonary nodules classified as indeterminate after consideration of radiologic characteristics and patient risk factors have traditionally posed a diagnostic dilemma. The use of newer imaging modalities, including contrast-enhanced chest CT, fluorodeoxyglucose PET, and technetium Tc 99m SPECT, can help distinguish benign nodules from those that are malignant.

Author List

Hanley KS, Rubins JB


Kathryn Hanley MD Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Biopsy, Needle
Diagnosis, Differential
Lung Diseases
Lung Neoplasms
Solitary Pulmonary Nodule
Tomography, Emission-Computed
Tomography, X-Ray Computed
jenkins-FCD Prod-486 e3098984f26de787f5ecab75090d0a28e7f4f7c0