Dynamic contrast–enhanced computed tomography for the diagnosis of solitary pulmonary nodules: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Published on Feb 15, 2020in European Radiology4.101
· DOI :10.1007/S00330-020-06661-8
Jonathan R. Weir-McCall15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Cambridge),
Stella Joyce1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Cambridge)
+ 7 AuthorsFiona J. Gilbert62
Estimated H-index: 62
(University of Cambridge)
A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to determine the diagnostic performance of dynamic contrast–enhanced computed tomography (DCE-CT) for the differentiation between malignant and benign pulmonary nodules. Ovid MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for studies published up to October 2018 on the diagnostic accuracy of DCE-CT for the characterisation of pulmonary nodules. For the index test, studies with a minimum of a pre- and post-contrast computed tomography scan were evaluated. Studies with a reference standard of biopsy for malignancy, and biopsy or 2-year follow-up for benign disease were included. Study bias was assessed using QUADAS-2 (Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies). The sensitivities, specificities, and diagnostic odds ratios were determined along with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using a bivariate random effects model. Twenty-three studies were included, including 2397 study participants with 2514 nodules of which 55.3% were malignant (1389/2514). The pooled accuracy results were sensitivity 94.8% (95% CI 91.5; 96.9), specificity 75.5% (69.4; 80.6), and diagnostic odds ratio 56.6 (24.2–88.9). QUADAS 2 assessment showed intermediate/high risk of bias in a large proportion of the studies (52–78% across the domains). No difference was present in sensitivity or specificity between subgroups when studies were split based on CT technique, sample size, nodule size, or publication date. DCE-CT has a high diagnostic accuracy for the diagnosis of pulmonary nodules although study quality was indeterminate in a large number of cases. • The pooled accuracy results were sensitivity 95.1% and specificity 73.8% although individual studies showed wide ranges of values. • This is comparable to the results of previous meta-analyses of PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) diagnostic accuracy for the diagnosis of solitary pulmonary nodules. • Robust direct comparative accuracy and cost-effectiveness studies are warranted to determine the optimal use of DCE-CT and PET/CT in the diagnosis of SPNs.
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