PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] In a major new study announced today by the National Cancer Institute, researchers including Brown University biostatistian Constantine Gatsonis and his colleagues found that screening for lung cancer using helical CT scanning reduced lung cancer deaths by 20 percent compared to using chest X-rays.
"The findings we're announcing today offer the first definitive evidence for the effectiveness of helical CT screening smokers for lung cancer " said Gatsonis, a lead biostatistician in the study and director of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network's (ACRIN) Biostatistics and Data Management Center, based at Brown's Center for Statistical Sciences. "This is a major step in the formulation of appropriate screening strategies for this deadly disease."
The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) was conducted by a consortium consisting of ACRIN and the Lung Screening Study (LSS). The consortium enrolled more than 53,000 current and former heavy smokers ages 55 to 74 into the NLST at 33 sites across the United States. Starting in August 2002, participants were enrolled during a 20-month period and randomly assigned to receive three annual screens with either low-dose helical CT (often referred to as spiral CT) or standard chest X-ray. A manuscript reporting on the design of the study appeared yesterday on the Web site of the journal Radiology.
"Everyone who participated in this trial has played an important role in providing hard evidence of a mortality benefit from CT screening for lung cancer as well as a road map for public policy development in the future," said Denise R. Aberle, M.D., the national principal investigator for NLST ACRIN, site co-principal investigator for the UCLA NLST team, and a deputy chair of ACRIN.
Helical CT uses X-rays to obtain a multiple-image scan of the entire chest compared to a standard chest X-ray that produces a single image of the whole chest in which an
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