(HealthDay News) — The initial results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) concur with the literature, with more positive screening results, diagnostic procedures, and lung cancers detected with low-dose computed tomography (CT) versus chest radiography screening, according to research published in the May 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Timothy R. Church, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, and colleagues describe the screening, diagnosis, and treatment results from the initial round of screening in the NLST. A total of 53,439 asymptomatic participants aged 55 to 74 years with a history of at least 30 pack-years of smoking were enrolled at 33 U.S centers from August 2002 to April 2004. The participants were randomized to and underwent low-dose CT (26,309 participants) and chest radiography (26,035 participants).

The researchers found that 27.3 percent of the low-dose CT group and 9.2 percent of the radiography group had a positive result, and 90.4 and 92.7 percent, respectively, underwent at least one follow-up diagnostic procedure (including imaging for 81.1 and 85.6 percent and surgery for 4.2 and 5.2 percent). Lung cancer was diagnosed in 1.1 and 0.7 percent, respectively, with more stage I cancers in the low-dose CT group. For low-dose CT, the sensitivity and specificity were 93.8 and 73.4 percent, respectively, and for radiography they were 73.5 and 91.3 percent, respectively.

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“The NLST initial screening results are consistent with the existing literature on screening by means of low-dose CT and chest radiography, suggesting that a reduction in mortality from lung cancer is achievable at U.S. screening centers that have staff experienced in chest CT,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to VuCOMP.

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