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Screening with low-dose spiral CT scanning reduces lung cancer deaths by 20 percent
Date:6/29/2011

Current or heavy smokers who were screened with low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) scanning had a 20 percent reduction in deaths from lung cancer than did those who were screened by chest X-ray, according to results from a decade-long, large clinical trial that involved more than 53,000 people.

The study, called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), was conducted in individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer to compare the differences in death rates between smokers aged 55 to 74 who were screened annually with low-dose helical (or spiral) CT, versus the conventional chest X-ray.

The study results were published June 29, 2011 in the early online edition of the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Denise R. Aberle, national principal investigator for 23 of the 33 NLST sites and a researcher with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, said this publication provides a more extensive analysis of the data than was initially reported in November 2010, and offers further definitive evidence of a significant mortality benefit from CT screening.

"These findings confirm that low dose CT screening can decrease deaths from lung cancer, which is expected to kill more than 150,000 Americans this year alone," said Aberle, who serves as vice chair for research in the Department of Radiological Sciences. "This study also will provide us with a road map for public policy development in terms of lung cancer screening in the years to come."

Beginning in August 2002, the NLST enrolled 53,454 men and women, including 1,578 individuals through the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Participants had either a current or former cigarette smoking history of at least 30 pack-years, and had to be without symptoms or a history of lung cancer. Pack-years are calculated by multiplying the average number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years a person has smoked.

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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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