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Pulmonary Benign Ground-Glass Nodules: CT Features and Pathological Findings

Authors Li WJ, Lv FJ, Tan YW, Fu BJ, Chu ZG

Received 27 December 2020

Accepted for publication 22 January 2021

Published 24 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 581—590


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Wang-Jia Li,1,* Fa-Jin Lv,1,* Yi-Wen Tan,2 Bin-Jie Fu,1 Zhi-Gang Chu1

1Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Zhi-Gang Chu
Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, 1# Youyi Road, Yuanjiagang, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, 400016, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 18723032809
Fax +86 23 68811487

Background: Some pulmonary ground-glass nodules (GGNs) are benign and frequently misdiagnosed due to lack of understanding of their CT characteristics. This study aimed to reveal the CT features and corresponding pathological findings of pulmonary benign GGNs to help improve diagnostic accuracy.
Patients and Methods: From March 2016 to October 2019, patients with benign GGNs confirmed by operation or follow-up were enrolled retrospectively. According to overall CT manifestations, GGNs were classified into three types: I, GGO with internal high-attenuation zone; II, nodules lying on adjacent blood vessels; and other type, lesions without obvious common characteristics. CT features and pathological findings of each nodule type were evaluated.
Results: Among the 40 type I, 25 type II, and 14 other type GGNs, 24 (60.0%), 19 (76.0%), and 10 (71.4%) nodules were resected, respectively. Type I GGNs were usually irregular (25 of 40, 62.5%) with only one high-attenuation zone (38 of 40, 95.0%) (main pathological components: thickened alveolar walls with inflammatory cells, fibrous tissue, and exudation), which was usually centric (24 of 40, 60.0%), having blurred margin (38 of 40, 95.0%), and connecting to blood vessels (32 of 40, 80.0%). The peripheral GGO (main pathological component: a small amount of inflammatory cell infiltration with fibrous tissue proliferation) was usually ill-defined (28 of 40, 70.0%). Type II GGNs (main pathological components: focal interstitial fibrosis with or without inflammatory cell infiltration) lying on adjacent vessel branches were usually irregular (19 of 25, 76.0%) and well defined (16 of 25, 64.0%) but showed coarse margins (15 of 16, 93.8%). Other type GGNs had various CT manifestations but their pathological findings were similar to that of type II.
Conclusion: For subsolid nodules with CT features manifested in type I or II GGNs, follow-up should be firstly considered in further management.

Keywords: ground-glass nodule, benignity, CT, pathology, lung

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