Guidelines for reduction of CT radiation dose were introduced in 1997 and are now more than 12 years old. The process initiated by the European Regulatory authorities to reduce the excess of radiation from CT has however not produced the expected results. Reference diagnostic levels (DRL) from surveys are still twice as high as needed in most European countries and were not significantly reduced as compared to the initial European ones. Many factors may at least explain partially the lack of dose reduction. One of them is the complexity of the dose optimization process while maintaining image quality at a diagnostically acceptable level. Chest is an anatomical region where radiation dose could be substantially reduced because of high natural contrasts between structures, such as air in the lungs and fat in the mediastinum. In this article, the concept of CT radiation dose optimization and the factors that contribute to maintain global excess in radiation dose are reviewed and a brief summary of results from research in the field of chest CT radiation dose is given.