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

cipants were randomly assigned to receive three annual screenings with either the low-dose spiral CT or the standard chest X-ray. Spiral CT uses X-rays to obtain multiple "slices" through the entire chest cavity during a seven- to 15-second breath-hold. A standard chest X-ray requires only a sub-second breath-hold, but produces just a single image of the whole chest in which anatomic structures overlie one another, perhaps obscuring a potential malignancy.

Previous studies to determine whether standard chest X-ray examinations can reduce lung cancer mortality have not been successful, primarily because of the small numbers of participants enrolled. The NLST is the first trial with sufficient numbers of participants using a randomized design to enable the comparison of mortality differences between spiral CT and chest X-ray, Aberle said.

Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, the NLST establishes low-dose spiral CT as the first validated screening test that reduces lung cancer mortality. Aberle said that while the results are very encouraging and should re-shape screening guidelines in the future, CT screening is not an alternative to smoking cessation. The best and most effective way to reduce lung cancer deaths is for smokers to quit and for those who don't smoke to refrain from starting.

One of the major limitations of CT screening is the number of screens in which a nodule or other indeterminate finding potentially related to lung cancer is found.

"These abnormal findings usually require some form of additional diagnostic evaluation, including invasive procedures that carry their own risks," Aberle said. "Although these 'false positive' screens were seen in about 24% of all CT scans in the study, follow-up of individuals showed that complications from both screening examinations and downstream diagnostic testing were low."

In addition to collecting detailed information
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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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