In order to clarify the characteristic computed tomographic findings of peripheral small cell lung cancer, the authors investigated 12 patients with surgically resected and histologically proven peripheral small cell lung cancer. Conventional computed tomography was performed on all, and additional high-resolution computed tomographic images were obtained for nine patients. Marginal, internal, and surrounding features of the tumors were analyzed, and these findings were correlated with histologic findings. All 12 tumors appeared as homogenous masses, and eight had well-defined margins. Lobulation was found in seven, marginal ground-glass opacity in three, fine spiculation in two, and both ground-glass opacity and spiculation in one. Cut specimens showed whitish medullary masses without large areas of necrosis, and microscopic specimens showed small areas of necrosis in 11 patients. Marginal ground-glass opacities corresponded to focal edema and hemorrhage in two patients and to intraalveolar invasion in one. Fine spiculation corresponded to vascular/lymphatic invasion in one patient and to irregular intraalveolar spread in another. The authors concluded that a homogenous mass without necrosis is the most characteristic feature of peripheral small cell carcinoma on computed tomography.
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