Conventional and CT diagnostics of bronchial carcinoma

C. Schaefer-Prokop

Radiologe 2010;50(8):675-683



A number of important technical advances made in recent years in the area of both digital radiography as well as multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) have improved detection and staging of bronchial carcinoma. The aim of elaborate processing such as temporal subtraction, rib suppression, dual energy subtraction or CAD is to aid the radiologist in detecting lung tumors at the earliest stage possible. For both CT and radiography techniques the differentiation between true and false positive lesions seems to be the biggest challenge. MDCT with multiplanar projections is the imaging method of choice for staging of the extent of local tumor spread (T staging), while N staging and M staging are the domain of positron emission tomography (PET) or even better of integrated PET/CT. Management rules for follow-up of solid and semi-solid lesions seen in CT consider the risks of the patient and are summarized in international guidelines. In 2009 a new 7th edition of the TNM classification was published, which, among other aspects, sub-classifies tumor size more specifically and the presence of a satellite nodule in the tumor lobe is down-staged to T3 and no longer determines tumor resectability. The N staging was not modified. One of the most important new features is the fact that the new classification no longer applies only to non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) but also to SCLC and carcinoid tumors.