Refractive-index (phase-contrast) radiology was able to detect lung tumors less than 1 mm in live mice. Significant micromorphology differences were observed in the microradiographs between normal, inflamed, and lung cancer tissues. This was made possible by the high phase contrast and by the fast image taking that reduces the motion blur. The detection of cancer and inflammation areas by phase contrast microradiology and microtomography was validated by bioluminescence and histopathological analysis. The smallest tumor detected is less than 1 mm(3) with accuracy better than 1 x 10(-3) mm(3). This level of performance is currently suitable for animal studies, while further developments are required for clinical application.