Study questions value of CT screens for lung cancer

May 1, 2007

Screening CT leads to early lung cancer diagnosis but does not cut lung cancer death rates for people who receive annual screening, according to a large international study.

Screening CT leads to early lung cancer diagnosis but does not cut lung cancer death rates for people who receive annual screening, according to a large international study.

Dr. Peter Bach and colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City evaluated 3246 asymptomatic men and women with a median age of 60 who had smoked or still smoked for an average of 39 years. Beginning in 1998, subjects underwent screening for lung cancer with multislice CT at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, or Instituto Tumori in Milan, Italy. Subjects received an initial CT scan and then at least three subsequent annual exams.

CT screening found nearly three times as many lung cancers as predicted. However, early detection and treatment did not lead to a decrease in advanced lung cancers or a reduction in deaths from lung cancer (JAMA 2007; 297:953-961).