Lugano-CH/Aurora-US-CO/Geneva-CH, 18 April 2012 -- New techniques for identifying lung cancer earlier including a new type of chest screening, a nanotech 'nose' and a method to examine the cells of the cheek-- are showing substantial promise, according to presentations at the 3rd European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) in Geneva.
"Early detection of lung cancer is vital to improve lung cancer survival rates," commented Egbert F. Smit, professor of pulmunary medicine at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, member of the IASLC Prevention, Screening and Early Detection Committee. "Currently, low-dose CT is the only early detection modality that has shown to improve survival rates. However, identifying persons at risk for lung cancer by methods that use less radiation, would be preferable. In this meeting three such methods are presented which hold some promise for future studies," he concluded.
Fast and inexpensive imaging
A fast and inexpensive new imaging technique, called digital chest tomosynthesis, is a promising method for lung cancer screening, report Dr Luca Bertolaccini and Dr Alberto Terzi from S. Croce e Carle Hospital in Cuneo, Italy.
Dr Bertolaccini and colleagues from the Thoracic Surgery Unit directed by Dr Terzi analyzed data from over 1,500 patients with no previous evidence of cancer, who were screened using the technique. They identified abnormalities in the lungs of 268 subjects, of whom 16 (1.07%) were found to have lung cancer.
"Digital tomography takes about 11 seconds," Dr Bertolaccini said. "The lung cancer detection rate using digital chest tomography is in line with the detection rate of previous studies using computed tomography. The 1% detection rate is adequate for lung cancer screening and the cost is by far lower then using low-dose CT scan."
Based on their experience, the Italian group believes the new technology holds great promise. "Compared
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European Society for Medical Oncology