CT scans of 47 patients who had peripheral bronchogenic carcinoma contiguous to the pleural surface and who had undergone thoracotomy were retrospectively reviewed. The CT features of the primary neoplasm that were analyzed included the angle and amount of contact with the adjacent pleural surface, associated pleural thickening, fat plane between the tumor and chest wall, rib destruction, and chest wall mass. CT was of limited predictive value in separating those patients who had parietal pleural/chest wall involvement from those who did not. The combination of two or three CT findings (obtuse angle, >3 cm contact with pleural surface, associated pleural thickening) resulted in a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 59%. The clinical symptom of focal chest pain, while not as sensitive (67%) as CT, was much more specific (94%) for parietal pleural/chest wall invasion.