Imaging biomarkers and staging in IPF

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Purpose of review

The application of computer-based imaging analysis in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a rapidly developing field. The purpose of this review is to provide insights into the problems associated with visual interpretation of HRCT patterns and describe some of the current technologies used to provide objective quantification of disease on HRCT. Future directions are also discussed.

Recent findings

Although there is strong evidence that visual quantification of disease on HRCT in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis provides prognostic information, this approach is hampered by its subjective nature and interobserver variability. In contrast, computer-based quantification of disease on HRCT provides objective and reproducible data, which may help to predict mortality and time to decline in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The use of these technologies may also help to stratify clinical risk in patients enrolled in drug trials.


The future of imaging-based biomarker research in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is undoubtedly computer-based HRCT evaluation. However, if this field is to continue to innovate, large, well annotated imaging datasets for developing and testing. new computer-based tools are needed as well as prospective trials for biomarker validation.

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