Denise R. Aberle, MD

Denise Aberle, MD

Professor, Department of Radiology, Department of Bioengineering
Vice Chair of Research, Department of Radiological Sciences





Thoracic Imaging, UCSF Department of Radiology, 1986


Internal Medicine, Kansas University Medical Center School of Medicine, 1979 - 1980


MD, Kansas University Medical Center School of Medicine, 1979


Radiological Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, 1982 - 1985
Internal Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, 1980 - 1982

Board Certifications

Diagnostic Radiology, American Board of Radiology, 1985
Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, 1982

Contact Information


(310) 301-6800 - Radiology Information and Patient Appointments
(310) 794-1450 - Thoracic Imaging Patient Appointments
(310) 206-7274 - Thoracic Imaging Interventional Procedure Appointments
(310) 301-6800 - Thoracic Imaging Referring Physicians Only

Scientific Interests

Dr. Denise Aberle's research is at the heart of a major public health interest - to determine whether imaging-based techniques are effective for the early detection of lung cancer. This interest culminated in the launch of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) in September 2002, a randomized, controlled trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that has randomized over 53,000 older current or former smokers to receive either low dose helical CT or chest X-ray annually for three years. Participants will be followed closely over a five- to seven-year period overall. The primary endpoint is differential lung cancer-specific mortality between the two screening examinations. The NLST represents the union of two groups, a research grant sponsored by the American College of Radiology Imaging Group (ACRIN) and a contract administered through the NCI. Overall, the NLST represents the largest multi-center clinical trial in lung cancer ever conducted in the United States. Aberle is the principal investigator of the ACRIN-NLST grant, overseeing some 23 sites and 19,000 participants. In her complementary research in oncology informatics, Aberle is working on methods to enable computers to intelligently integrate medical information into problem-centered timelines for thoracic oncology applications. Providing web-based documentation services and knowledge management for clinical trials, these technologies will eventually enable greater efficiency and coordination of care in the clinical environment.

Highlighted Publications

Berg CD, Aberle DR. CT screening for lung cancer. N Engl J Med. 2007; 356(7): 743-4; author reply 746-7.

Black WC, Aberle DR, Berg CD. Large field trial for lung cancer screening: putting the wrong cart before the horse? Radiology. 2007; 243(2): 314-6; discussion 317-8.

Petkovska I, Brown MS, Goldin JG, Kim HJ, McNitt-Gray MF, Abtin FG, Ghurabi RJ, Aberle DR. The effect of lung volume on nodule size on CT. Acad Radiol. 2007; 14(4): 476-85.

Cagnon CH, Cody DD, McNitt-Gray MF, Seibert JA, Judy PF, Aberle DR. Description and implementation of a quality control program in an imaging-based clinical trial. Acad Radiol. 2006; 13(11): 1431-41.

Meyer CR, Johnson TD, McLennan G, Aberle DR, Kazerooni EA, Macmahon H, Mullan BF, Yankelevitz DF, van Beek EJ, Armato SG, McNitt-Gray MF, Reeves AP, Gur D, Henschke CI, Hoffman EA, Bland PH, Laderach G, Pais R, Qing D, Piker C, Guo J, Starkey A, Max D, Croft BY, Clarke LP. Evaluation of lung MDCT nodule annotation across radiologists and methods. Acad Radiol. 2006; 13(10): 1254-65.