Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening

SUMMARY: The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) enrolled 53,454 individuals at high risk for lung cancer and randomly assigned them to undergo three annual screenings with either non-contrast, low-dose CT scan (LDCT) or single-view posteroanterior chest X-ray. This study demonstrated a 20% reduction in the risk of death from lung cancer in the group of people who were screened with LDCT compared to those who were screened with chest X-ray (P=0.004). Based on this study and data, the American Cancer Society has recommended lung cancer screening for individuals 55 to 74 years of age who are in fairly good health, have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history and are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the past 15 years. If a person remains in good health, annual LDCT is continued until the age of 74. Smokers should be counseled to quit smoking. Further more, people with abnormal scans should receive appropriate care and follow up. Lung cancer screening with LDCT is presently not covered by most insurance plans. The National Lung Screening Trial Research Team. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:395-409