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CT Lung Cancer Screenings Show Mixed Results

Model shows reductions in lung cancer-specific mortality but not in all-cause mortality

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- In patients at high risk for lung cancer, regular helical computed tomographic screening may reduce long-term lung cancer-specific mortality. Because of other mortality risks associated with smoking, however, it may have a less significant effect on reducing overall mortality, according to research published in the July issue of Radiology.

Pamela M. McMahon, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues applied deidentified individual-level data from 1,520 current or former smokers aged 50 to 85 in the Mayo Clinic helical CT screening study to the Lung Cancer Policy Model, which predicts diagnosed cases of lung cancer and deaths for two simulated study arms: five annual screening examinations versus no screening.

After six years and 15 years of follow-up, the researchers found that the model predicted significant increases in lung cancer detection in the screening arm compared to the control arm (37 percent relative increase at six years, and 9 percent relative increase at 15 years). At six years and 15 years, they also found that the relative reduction of cumulative lung cancer-specific mortality was 28 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in the screening arm, but that the relative reduction in cumulative all-cause mortality was 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

"Cost-effectiveness analyses will be necessary to evaluate whether imaging-based screening is a good use of resources, relative to other interventions, including effective smoking cessation programs or improved treatments," the authors write.

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