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Low-Dose CT Screening Tied to Reduced Lung Cancer Mortality

Low-dose helical CT is better than radiography at detecting lung cancer, reducing mortality

THURSDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Screening with low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) may reduce mortality from lung cancer, according to a study published online June 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Denise R. Aberle, M.D., from the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial Research Team investigated the impact of screening with low-dose helical CT scan on lung cancer mortality. From August 2002 to April 2004, 53,454 individuals at high risk for lung cancer were randomly assigned to undergo three annual screenings with low-dose CT (26,722) or single-view posteroanterior chest radiography (26,732). Lung cancer diagnoses and deaths from lung cancer until Dec. 31, 2009, were recorded.

The investigators found that the rate of positive screening tests was 24.2 percent with low-dose CT and 6.9 percent with radiography over all three screenings. However, 96.4 percent of the low-dose CT results were false-positives; in the radiography group it was 94.5 percent. The incidence of lung cancer was 645 and 572 per 100,000 person-years in the CT and radiography groups (rate ratio, 1.13), respectively. There were 247 and 309 deaths per 100,000 person-years in the CT and radiography groups, respectively, which represents a 20 percent reduction in mortality with low-dose CT screening. The rate of death from any cause was significantly reduced by 6.7 percent in the CT group compared to that in radiography group.

"Screening with the use of low-dose CT reduces mortality from lung cancer," the authors write.

One study author disclosed financial relationships with Wilex AG, Mela Sciences, Endocyte Inc., and Bayer HealthCare. The author of the editorial disclosed various relationships with the biotechnology and medical industries.

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