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Health Agencies Update
December 22 2010

Lung Cancer Screening

JAMA. 2010;304(24):2687. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1814

Use of low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) helped identify more lung cancers and prevented more lung cancer deaths than standard chest radiography, according to findings from a clinical trial funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). But officials note that CT screening for lung cancer also has drawbacks.

The multisite randomized controlled trial, which included 53 500 men and women aged 55 to 74 years who smoked on average 1 pack per day for 30 years, was stopped in October by its data and safety monitoring board; preliminary data from the trial indicated about a 20% reduction in lung cancer deaths in the CT group compared with the x-ray group, with 354 deaths in the CT group compared with 442 in the x-ray group (http: //tinyurl.com /2cutflw). The participants received 3 annual screenings for lung cancer and were followed up for 5 more years.