Radiol Phys Technol. 2023 Oct 27. doi: 10.1007/s12194-023-00750-1. Online ahead of print.
The objective is to evaluate the performance of computational image classification for indeterminate pulmonary nodules (IPN) chronologically detected by CT scan. Total 483 patients with 670 abnormal pulmonary nodules, who were taken chest thin-section CT (TSCT) images at least twice and resected as suspicious nodules in our hospital, were enrolled in this study. Nodular regions from the initial and the latest TSCT images were cut manually for each case, and approached by Python development environment, using the open-source cv2 library, to measure the nodular change rate (NCR). These NCRs were statistically compared with clinico-pathological factors, and then, this discriminator was evaluated for clinical performance. NCR showed significant differences among the nodular consistencies. In terms of histological subtypes, NCR of invasive adenocarcinoma (ADC) were significantly distinguishable from other lesions, but not from minimally invasive ADC. Only for cancers, NCR was significantly associated with loco-regional invasivity, p53-immunoreactivity, and Ki67-immunoreactivity. Regarding Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor gene mutation of ADC-related nodules, NCR showed a significant negative correlation. On staging of lung cancer cases, NCR was significantly increased with progression from pTis-stage 0 up to pT1b-stage IA2. For clinical shared decision-making (SDM) whether urgent resection or watchful-waiting, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis showed that area under the ROC curve was 0.686. For small-sized IPN detected by CT scan, this approach shows promise as a potential navigator to improve work-up for life-threatening cancer screening and assist SDM before surgery.