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OBJECTIVES: Multiple lung cancer screening studies reported the performance of Lung CT Screening Reporting and Data System (Lung-RADS), but none systematically evaluated its performance across different populations. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the performance of Lung-RADS (versions 1.0 and 1.1) for detecting lung cancer in different populations.

METHODS: We performed literature searches in PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Embase databases on October 21, 2022, for studies that evaluated the accuracy of Lung-RADS in lung cancer screening. A bivariate random-effects model was used to estimate pooled sensitivity and specificity, and heterogeneity was explored in stratified and meta-regression analyses.

RESULTS: A total of 31 studies with 104,224 participants were included. For version 1.0 (27 studies, 95,413 individuals), pooled sensitivity was 0.96 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.90-0.99) and pooled specificity was 0.90 (95% CI: 0.87-0.92). Studies in high-risk populations showed higher sensitivity (0.98 [95% CI: 0.92-0.99] vs. 0.84 [95% CI: 0.50-0.96]) and lower specificity (0.87 [95% CI: 0.85-0.88] vs. 0.95 (95% CI: 0.92-0.97]) than studies in general populations. Non-Asian studies tended toward higher sensitivity (0.97 [95% CI: 0.91-0.99] vs. 0.91 [95% CI: 0.67-0.98]) and lower specificity (0.88 [95% CI: 0.85-0.90] vs. 0.93 [95% CI: 0.88-0.96]) than Asian studies. For version 1.1 (4 studies, 8811 individuals), pooled sensitivity was 0.91 (95% CI: 0.83-0.96) and specificity was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.67-0.90).

CONCLUSION: Among studies using Lung-RADS version 1.0, considerable heterogeneity in sensitivity and specificity was noted, explained by population type (high risk vs. general), population area (Asia vs. non-Asia), and cancer prevalence.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: Meta-regression of lung cancer screening studies using Lung-RADS version 1.0 showed considerable heterogeneity in sensitivity and specificity, explained by the different target populations, including high-risk versus general populations, Asian versus non-Asian populations, and populations with different lung cancer prevalence.

KEY POINTS: • High-risk population studies showed higher sensitivity and lower specificity compared with studies performed in general populations by using Lung-RADS version 1.0. • In non-Asian studies, the diagnostic performance of Lung-RADS version 1.0 tended to be better than in Asian studies. • There are limited studies on the performance of Lung-RADS version 1.1, and evidence is lacking for Asian populations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Radiology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30-Aug-2023


  • Cancer screening
  • Lung neoplasms
  • Solitary pulmonary nodule
  • X-ray computed tomography

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