Establishing scanning protocols for a CT lung cancer screening trial in the UK

Gareth R Iball, Michael Darby, Rhian Gabe, Philip A J Crosbie, Matthew E J Callister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To develop a CT scanning protocol for lung cancer screening which achieved low radiation dose and a high level of objectively assessed image quality.

METHODS: An anthropomorphic chest phantom and a commercially available lung screening image quality phantom were scanned on a series of scan protocols from a previous UK lung screening pilot and on an alternative protocol. The chest phantom scans were used to assess the CT dose metrics on community-based mobile CT scanners and comparisons were made with published recommended doses. Scans of the image quality phantom were objectively assessed against the RSNA Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (QIBA) recommendations. Protocol adjustments were made to ensure that the recommended dose and image quality levels were both achieved.

RESULTS: The alternative scan protocol yielded doses up to 72% lower than on the previously used protocols with a CTDIvol of 0.6mGy for the 55 kg equivalent phantom and 1.3mGy with an additional 6 cm of tissue equivalent material in place. Scans on the existing protocols failed on two of the QIBA image quality metrics (edge enhancement and 3D resolution aspect ratio). Following adjustments to the reconstruction parameters of the resulting image quality met all six QIBA recommendations. Radiologist review of phantom images with this scan protocol deemed them suitable for a lung screening trial.

CONCLUSIONS: Scan protocols yielding low radiation doses and high levels of objectively assessed image quality which meet published criteria can be established through the use of specific anthropomorphic and image quality phantoms, and are deliverable in community-based lung cancer screening.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Development of a standard methodology for establishing CT lung screening scanning protocolsUse of QIBA recommendations as objective image quality metricsStandardised lung phantoms are essential tools for setting up lung screening protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20201343
JournalThe British journal of radiology
Issue number1128
Early online date24 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Clinical Protocols
  • Humans
  • Lung/diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed/methods
  • United Kingdom


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