Ground-Glass Opacity Lung Nodules in the Era of Lung Cancer CT Screening: Radiology, Pathology, and Clinical Management

Jesper Holst Pedersen, Zaigham Saghir, Mathilde Marie Winkler Wille, Laura Hohwü Thomsen, Birgit Guldhammer Skov, Haseem Ashraf


The advent of computed tomography screening for lung cancer will increase the incidence of ground-glass opacity (GGO) nodules detected and referred for diagnostic evaluation and management. GGO nodules remain a diagnostic challenge; therefore, a more systematic approach is necessary to ensure correct diagnosis and optimal management. Here we present the latest advances in the radiologic imaging and pathology of GGO nodules, demonstrating that radiologic features are increasingly predictive of the pathology of GGO nodules. We review the current guidelines from the Fleischner Society, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and the British Thoracic Society. In addition, we discuss the management and follow-up of GGO nodules in the light of experience from screening trials. Minimally invasive tissue biopsies and the marking of GGO nodules for surgery are new and rapidly developing fields that will yield improvements in both diagnosis and treatment. The standard-of-care surgical treatment of early lung cancer is still minimally invasive lobectomy with systematic lymph node dissection. However, recent research has shown that some GGO lesions may be treated with sublobar resections; these findings may expand the surgical treatment options available in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOncology (Williston Park, N.Y.)
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)266-74
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Disease Management
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Multiple Pulmonary Nodules
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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