Article Abstract

Improved repeatability of subsolid nodule measurement in low-dose lung screening with monoenergetic images: a phantom study

Authors: Jihang Kim, Kyung Hee Lee, Junghoon Kim, Yoon Joo Shin, Kyung Won Lee


Background: To investigate whether monoenergetic images captured with dual-layer spectral computed tomography (CT) can improve the repeatability of subsolid nodule measurement, and whether this approach can further reduce the radiation dose of CT while maintaining its measurement repeatability.
Methods: An anthropomorphic phantom with simulated subsolid nodules at three different levels was repeatedly scanned with both conventional single-energy CT and dual-layer spectral CT. A proxy for the measurement repeatability in the National Lung Screening Trial (proxy for NLST) was calculated with the typical CT protocol used in NLST. Using the dual-layer spectral CT, monoenergetic images of 40 to 110 keV, with an interval of 10 keV, were generated. The average diameter and volume of a total of 15,120 nodules in 840 CT images were measured by using a commercially-available computer-aided detection (CAD) system. The repeatability coefficient (RC), %RC, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of each image set were calculated and compared.
Results: At the same tube voltage and tube current-time product, monoenergetic images resulted in significantly lower RC than the proxy for NLST, indicating that measurement repeatability was enhanced. When the radiation dose was lowered by 30% or 55%, monoenergetic images showed significantly lower RC at high-energy keV than the proxy for NLST. The estimated measurement repeatability from monoenergetic images with 30% or 55% lower radiation dose was comparable to the repeatability from conventional single-energy CT images with standard radiation dose and iterative reconstruction.
Conclusions: Monoenergetic images captured by using dual-layer spectral CT can improve the repeatability of subsolid nodule measurement. The use of monoenergetic images would allow lung cancer screening with a lower radiation dose, while maintaining comparable measurement repeatability.