Management strategy of solitary pulmonary nodules

Ping Zhan, Haiyan Xie, Chunhua Xu, Keke Hao, Zhibo Hou, Yong Song


Solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) are increasingly detected with the widespread use of chest computed tomography (CT) scans. The management of patients with SPN should begin with estimating the probability of cancer from the patient’s clinical risk factors and CT characteristics. The decision-making process need to incorporate the probability of cancer, the potential benefits and harms of surgery, the accuracy of the available diagnostic tests and patient preferences. For patients with a very low probability of cancer, careful observation with serial CT is warranted. For patients in the intermediate range of probabilities, either CT-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) or positron emission tomography (PET), is recommended. For those with a high probability of cancer, surgical diagnosis is warranted.