The presence of pulmonary parenchymal cysts on computed tomography (CT) imaging presents a significant diagnostic challenge. The diverse range of possible etiologies can usually be differentiated based on the clinical setting and radiologic features. In fact, the advent of high-resolution CT has facilitated making a diagnosis solely on analysis of CT image patterns, thus averting the need for a biopsy. While it is possible to make a fairly specific diagnosis during early stages of disease evolution by its characteristic radiological presentation, distinct features may progress to temporally converge into relatively nonspecific radiologic presentations sometimes necessitating histological examination to make a diagnosis. The aim of this review study is to provide both the pathologist and the radiologist with an overview of the diseases most commonly associated with cystic lung lesions primarily in adults by illustration and description of pathologic and radiologic features of each entity. Brief descriptions and characteristic radiologic features of the various disease entities are included and illustrative examples are provided for the common majority of them. In this article, we also classify pulmonary cystic disease with an emphasis on the pathophysiology behind cyst formation in an attempt to elucidate the characteristics of similar cystic appearances seen in various disease entities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine