The purpose of this study was to reduce the radiation dosage associated with computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening while maintaining overall diagnostic image quality and definition of ground-glass opacities (GGOs). A lung screening phantom and a multipurpose chest phantom were used to quantitatively assess the performance of two iterative image reconstruction algorithms (adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) and model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR)) used in conjunction with reduced tube currents relative to a standard clinical lung cancer screening protocol (51 effective mAs (3.9 mGy) and filtered back-projection (FBP) reconstruction). To further assess the algorithms' performances, qualitative image analysis was conducted (in the form of a reader study) using the multipurpose chest phantom, which was implanted with GGOs of two densities. Our quantitative image analysis indicated that tube current, and thus radiation dose, could be reduced by 40% or 80% from ASIR or MBIR, respectively, compared with conventional FBP, while maintaining similar image noise magnitude and contrast-to-noise ratio. The qualitative portion of our study, which assessed reader preference, yielded similar results, indicating that dose could be reduced by 60% (to 20 effective mAs (1.6 mGy)) with either ASIR or MBIR, while maintaining GGO definition. Additionally, the readers' preferences (as indicated by their ratings) regarding overall image quality were equal or better (for a given dose) when using ASIR or MBIR, compared with FBP. In conclusion, combining ASIR or MBIR with reduced tube current may allow for lower doses while maintaining overall diagnostic image quality, as well as GGO definition, during CT lung cancer screening.
- Computed tomography
- Ground-glass opacity
- Iterative reconstruction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging