Solitary pulmonary nodule causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Maria Fernanda Villarreal, M.D. [2] Luke Rusowicz-Orazem, B.S.


Common causes of solitary pulmonary nodule include tuberculosis, primary lung cancer, granulomas, and rheumatic disease. Solitary pulmonary nodules can be life-threatening if they are malignant neoplasms, cardiopulmonary diseases and infection, requiring prompt diagnosis and differentiation from benign etiologies.


Life Threatening Causes

Common Causes

Common malignant causes of pulmonary nodule include:[1]

Common benign causes of pulmonary nodule include:[2]





Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Arteriovenous malformation, localized infarction, pulmonary arterio-venous malformation, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary infarction, varicose pulmonary vein, vascular
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect No underlying causes
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Thyroid cancer
Environmental Black lung disease
Gastroenterologic Gastric cancer
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic Aneurysm of the pulmonary artery, hemangioma, hematoma, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, pulmonary hamartoma
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Adiaspiromycosis, Aspergilloma, Aspergillosis, berylliosis, Blastomycosis, bronchogenic carcinoma, bronchogenic cyst, Coccidioidomycosis, Cryptococcosis, Dirofilariasis, Echinococcus granulosus, endometriosis, fungal infection, histoplasmosis, hydatid cyst, Hystiocytosis X, lipoid pneumonia, lung abscess, lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, nocardiosis, parasite infection, pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, pneumonia, pulmonary abscess, round pneumonia, tuberculosis
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic Multiple myeloma
Neurologic Aneurysm of the pulmonary artery, arteriovenous malformation, neurofibroma, neurogenic tumor
Nutritional/Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic Breast cancer
Oncologic Adenocarcinoma, blastoma, bronchial adenoma, cancers, carcinoid tumor, chondroma, fibroma, gastric cancer, granuloma, hamartoma, hamartomatosis, hemangioma, hypernephroma, large cell lung carcinoma, lung metastases, lymphoma, metastasis, multiple myeloma, neurofibroma, neurogenic tumor, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, non-small cell lung cancer, primary lung cancer, prostate cancer, pulmonary inflammatory pseudotumor, pulmonary sarcoma, pulmonary sequestration, sarcoma, seminoma, small cell lung cancer, solitary metastasis, squamous cell carcinoma, thyroid cancer
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary Black lung disease, bronchial adenoma, bronchial atresia, bronchogenic carcinoma, bronchogenic cyst, Churg-Strauss syndrome, Hydatid cyst, lipoid pneumonia, localized scar, localized pleural effusion, lung abscess, lung cavity, lung metastases, mucoid impaction, non-small cell lung cancer, pleural plaque, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, pneumonia, primary lung cancer, pulmonary abscess, pulmonary arterio-venous malformation, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hamartoma, pulmonary infarction, pulmonary inflammatory pseudotumor, pulmonary sarcoma, pulmonary sequestration, round pneumonia, rounded atelectasis, sarcoidosis, sequestration, small cell lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, tuberculosis, varicose pulmonary vein, Wegener's granulomatosis
Renal/Electrolyte Hypernephroma
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Amyloidosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, fibroma, granuloma, immunological, progressive massive fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid disease, rheumatoid nodule, sarcoidosis, Wegener's granulomatosis
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Foreign body, localized scar, lung cavity, rounded atelectasis
Urologic Prostate cancer
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order



  1. Sailer, Christian, Wasner, Susanne. Differential Diagnosis Pocket. Hermosa Beach, CA: Borm Bruckmeir Publishing LLC, 2002: 306-307 ISBN 1591032016
  2. Lillington GA (1991). "Management of solitary pulmonary nodules". Dis Mon. 37 (5): 271–318. PMID 2019220.

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