American Cancer Society recommends lung cancer CT screening for high-risk patients

American Cancer Society recommends lung cancer CT screening for high-risk patients

New guidelines from the American Cancer Society say evidence is sufficient to recommend screening high-risk patients for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (CT), provided that following conditions exist.

  • The patient is aged 55 to 74 years, has at least a 30–packyear smoking history*, and currently smokes or has quit within the past 15 years
  • The patient has undergone a thorough discussion of the benefits, limitations, and risks of screening.
  • The patient can be screened in a setting with experience in lung cancer screening.

Following the announcement of results from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) in late 2010, the American Cancer Society joined with the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to produce a systematic review of the evidence related to lung cancer screening with low dose CT.

The results of this systematic review were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June, 2012, and were used as the basis for these new recommendations. Recommendations are being published early online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and will appear in print in the March/April 2012 issue of the journal.

In the report describing the new guidelines, the authors say: “Findings from the National Cancer Institute’s National Lung Screening Trial established that lung cancer mortality in specific high-risk groups can be reduced by annual screening with lowdose computed tomography. These findings indicate that the adoption of lung cancer screening could save many lives.”

They conclude: “At this time, there is sufficient evidence to support screening provided that the patient has undergone a thorough discussion of the benefits, limitations, and risks, and can be screened in a setting with experience in lung cancer screening.”

But they caution that more work is needed to fill in existing knowledge gaps related to broadening eligibility for lung cancer screening, to further define early lung cancer detection protocols, and to put in place an infrastructure to support population-based lung cancer screening.

*Pack-years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked.

For the full report, visit cacancerjournal.com.