[Lung cancer screening. What have we learnt for the practice so far?]

C. Schaefer-Prokop, H. Prosch and M. Prokop

Radiologe 2014;54:462-469

DOI PMID

Abstract

Lung cancer is the most frequent cause of tumor-associated death and only has a good prognosis if detected at a very early tumor stage.For the first time the American National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) could prove that low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening is able to reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 To date, however, three much smaller and therefore statistically underpowered European trials could not confirm the positive results of the NLST. The results of the largest European trial NELSON are expected within the next 2 years. In addition, there are a number of open or not yet satisfactorily answered questions, such as the definition of the appropriate screening population, the management of nodules detected by screening, the effects of over-diagnosis and the risk of cumulative radiation exposure.The success of the NLST prompted several predominantly American professional societies to issue a positive recommendation about the implementation of lung cancer screening in a population at risk. However, potentially conflicting results of European studies and a number of not yet optimized issues justify caution and call for a pooled analysis of European studies in order to provide statistically sound results and to ensure a high efficiency of screening with respect to the radiation applied, mental and physical patient burden and, last but not least, the financial efforts.

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