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February 15, 2012

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Detection During Lung Cancer Screening

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: School of Biological Science (Dr Young) ( and School of Health Sciences (Ms Hopkins), University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

JAMA. 2012;307(7):664-665. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.142

To the Editor: The study by Dr Mets and colleagues concluded that computed tomography (CT)–based screening for lung cancer provided the additional utility of identifying undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in current and former heavy smokers.1 However, identifying smokers with mostly mild (and asymptomatic) COPD through screening remains controversial.2 Given there is no evidence that identifying and treating this group has merit, recently published recommendations state that asymptomatic people (including smokers) should not undergo spirometry screening to identify COPD. While we disagree,2 the same negative position might be taken for CT-based screening.1