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      Results of Initial Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening for Lung Cancer

      The National Lung Screening Trial Research Team

      New England Journal of Medicine

      Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Abstract

          Lung cancer is the largest contributor to mortality from cancer. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) showed that screening with low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) rather than with chest radiography reduced mortality from lung cancer. We describe the screening, diagnosis, and limited treatment results from the initial round of screening in the NLST to inform and improve lung-cancer-screening programs. At 33 U.S. centers, from August 2002 through April 2004, we enrolled asymptomatic participants, 55 to 74 years of age, with a history of at least 30 pack-years of smoking. The participants were randomly assigned to undergo annual screening, with the use of either low-dose CT or chest radiography, for 3 years. Nodules or other suspicious findings were classified as positive results. This article reports findings from the initial screening examination. A total of 53,439 eligible participants were randomly assigned to a study group (26,715 to low-dose CT and 26,724 to chest radiography); 26,309 participants (98.5%) and 26,035 (97.4%), respectively, underwent screening. A total of 7191 participants (27.3%) in the low-dose CT group and 2387 (9.2%) in the radiography group had a positive screening result; in the respective groups, 6369 participants (90.4%) and 2176 (92.7%) had at least one follow-up diagnostic procedure, including imaging in 5717 (81.1%) and 2010 (85.6%) and surgery in 297 (4.2%) and 121 (5.2%). Lung cancer was diagnosed in 292 participants (1.1%) in the low-dose CT group versus 190 (0.7%) in the radiography group (stage 1 in 158 vs. 70 participants and stage IIB to IV in 120 vs. 112). Sensitivity and specificity were 93.8% and 73.4% for low-dose CT and 73.5% and 91.3% for chest radiography, respectively. The NLST initial screening results are consistent with the existing literature on screening by means of low-dose CT and chest radiography, suggesting that a reduction in mortality from lung cancer is achievable at U.S. screening centers that have staff experienced in chest CT. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute; NLST ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00047385.).

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          Most cited references14

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          The National Lung Screening Trial: overview and study design.

          The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) is a randomized multicenter study comparing low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) with chest radiography in the screening of older current and former heavy smokers for early detection of lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Five-year survival rates approach 70% with surgical resection of stage IA disease; however, more than 75% of individuals have incurable locally advanced or metastatic disease, the latter having a 5-year survival of less than 5%. It is plausible that treatment should be more effective and the likelihood of death decreased if asymptomatic lung cancer is detected through screening early enough in its preclinical phase. For these reasons, there is intense interest and intuitive appeal in lung cancer screening with low-dose CT. The use of survival as the determinant of screening effectiveness is, however, confounded by the well-described biases of lead time, length, and overdiagnosis. Despite previous attempts, no test has been shown to reduce lung cancer mortality, an endpoint that circumvents screening biases and provides a definitive measure of benefit when assessed in a randomized controlled trial that enables comparison of mortality rates between screened individuals and a control group that does not undergo the screening intervention of interest. The NLST is such a trial. The rationale for and design of the NLST are presented. © RSNA, 2010
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            AJCC Cancer Staging Manual

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              Lung cancer screening with CT: Mayo Clinic experience.

              To evaluate a large cohort of patients at high risk for lung cancer by using screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) of the chest. A prospective cohort study was performed with 1,520 individuals aged 50 years or older who had smoked 20 pack-years or more. Participants underwent three annual low-dose CT examinations of the chest and upper abdomen. Characteristics of pulmonary nodules and additional findings were tabulated and analyzed. Two years after baseline CT scanning, 2,832 uncalcified pulmonary nodules were identified in 1,049 participants (69%). Forty cases of lung cancer were diagnosed: 26 at baseline (prevalence) CT examinations and 10 at subsequent annual (incidence) CT examinations. CT alone depicted 36 cases; sputum cytologic examination alone, two. There were two interval cancers. Cell types were as follows: squamous cell tumor, seven; adenocarcinoma or bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, 24; large cell tumor, two; non-small cell tumor, three; small cell tumor, four. The mean size of the non-small cell cancers detected at CT was 15.0 mm. The stages were as follows: IA, 22; IB, three; IIA, four; IIB, one; IIIA, five; IV, one; limited small cell tumor, four. Twenty-one (60%) of the 35 non-small cell cancers detected at CT were stage IA at diagnosis. Six hundred ninety-six additional findings of clinical importance were identified. CT can depict early-stage lung cancers. The rate of benign nodule detection is high.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                May 23 2013
                May 23 2013
                : 368
                : 21
                : 1980-1991
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa1209120
                3762603
                23697514
                ca6f36fc-00f8-4b31-a307-bd311aae6ee5
                © 2013
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