Scientists have found a 20 percent reduction in deaths from lung cancer among current or former heavy smokers who were screened with low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) versus those screened by chest X-ray. The primary research results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with more than 94 million current or former smokers at elevated risk of the disease. Most lung cancers are detected when they cause symptoms, by which time the disease is more likely to be advanced and less curable.
“The trial results published today provide hard evidence of the mortality benefit from low-dose helical CT screening for lung cancer in an older and heavy smoker population. These findings, and the vast amount of additional data generated by the NLST that are still being studied, offer a rich resource of information that will inform the development of clinical guidelines and policy recommendations,” states Denise R. Aberle, M.D., the national principal investigator for NLST ACRIN, a deputy co-chair of ACRIN, professor of radiology and bioengineering and vice chair for research in Radiological Sciences at UCLA.
The nearly decade-long trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health, enrolled participants over a 20-month period who were randomly assigned to receive three annual screening examinations with either low-dose helical CT or standard chest X-ray.
Source: American College of Radiology, USA