Analysis of pulmonary pure ground-glass nodule in enhanced dual energy CT imaging for predicting invasive adenocarcinoma: comparing with conventional thin-section CT imaging

Ying Zhang, Jian Tang, Jianrong Xu, Jiejun Cheng, Huawei Wu


Background: To investigate the value of dual energy computed tomography (DECT) parameters (including iodine concentration and monochromatic CT numbers) for predicting pure ground-glass nodules (pGGNs) of invasive adenocarcinoma (IA).
Methods: A total of 55 resected pGGNs evaluated with both unenhanced thin-section CT (TSCT) and enhanced DECT scans were included. Correlations between histopathology [adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS), minimally IA (MIA), and IA] and CT scan characteristics were examined. CT scan and clinicodemographic data were investigated by univariate and multivariate analysis to identify features that helped distinguish IA from AIS or MIA.
Results: Both normalized iodine concentration (NIC) of IA and slope of spectral curve [slope(k)] were not significantly different between IA and AIS or MIA. Size, performance of pleural retraction and enhanced monochromatic CT attenuation values of 120–140 keV were significantly higher for IA. In multivariate regression analysis, size and enhanced monochromatic CT number of 140 keV were independent predictors for IA. Using the two parameters together, the diagnostic capacity of IA could be improved from 0.697 or 0.635 to 0.713.
Conclusions: DECT could help demonstrate blood supply and indicate invasion extent of pGGNs, and monochromatic CT number of higher energy (especially 140 keV) would be better for diagnosing IA than lower energies. Together with size of pGGNs, the diagnostic capacity of IA could be better.