Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Original article
Combined use of positron emission tomography and volume doubling time in lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scanning
  1. H Ashraf1,
  2. A Dirksen2,3,
  3. A Loft4,
  4. A K Bertelsen4,
  5. K S Bach1,
  6. H Hansen1,
  7. J H Pedersen5,
  8. J Mortensen3,4
  1. 1Department of Radiology, Gentofte University Hospital, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Respiratory Medicine, Gentofte University Hospital, Denmark
  3. 3Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine and PET, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. 5Department of Thoracic Surgery RT, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Haseem Ashraf, Department of Radiology, Gentofte University Hospital, Niels Andersens vej 65, 2900 Hellerup, Denmark; haseem{at}


Background In lung cancer screening the ability to distinguish malignant from benign nodules is a key issue. This study evaluates the ability of positron emission tomography (PET) and volume doubling time (VDT) to discriminate between benign and malignant nodules.

Methods From the Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial, participants with indeterminate nodules who were referred for a 3-month rescan were investigated. Resected nodules and indolent nodules (ie, stable for at least 2 years) were included. Between the initial scan and the 3-month rescan, participants were referred for PET. Uptake on PET was categorised as most likely benign to malignant (grades I–IV). VDT was calculated from volume measurements on repeated CT scans using semiautomated pulmonary nodule evaluation software. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses were used to determine the sensitivity and specificity of PET and VDT.

Results A total of 54 nodules were included. The prevalence of lung cancer was 37%. In the multivariate model both PET (OR 2.63, p<0.01) and VDT (OR 2.69, p<0.01) were associated with lung cancer. The sensitivities and specificities of both PET and VDT were 71% and 91%, respectively. Cut-off points for malignancy were PET >II and VDT <1 year, respectively. Combining PET and VDT resulted in a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 82%; ROC cut-off point was either PET or VDT indicating malignancy.

Conclusion PET and VDT predict lung cancer independently of each other. The use of both PET and VDT in combination is recommended when screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT.

  • Lung cancer
  • computer tomography
  • positron-emission tomography
  • computer aided detection
  • screening
  • imaging/CT MRI etc
  • lung cancer

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • See Editorials, p 275 and p 277

  • Linked articles 142067, 149153, 138370.

  • Funding The Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial receives financial support from the Danish Government.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial was approved by the ethical committee of Copenhagen County on 31 January 2003. Approval of data management in the trial was obtained from the Danish Data Protection Agency on 11 February 2005.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles