Lung Cancers Detected On Screening CT Scans Have Better Survival Interview with:

Matthew B. Schabath PhD Department of Cancer Epidemiology H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute Tampa, Florida

Dr. Matthew Schabath

Matthew B. Schabath PhD
Department of Cancer Epidemiology
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
Tampa, Florida What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study is a post-hoc analysis of data from a large randomized clinical trial (RCT) called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). The NLST found that lung cancer screening with low-dose helical computed tomography (LDCT) significantly reduced lung cancer deaths by 20 percent compared to screening with standard chest radiography (i.e., X-Ray).

In our publication, we performed a very detailed analysis comparing outcomes of lung cancer patients screened by LDCT according to their initial (i.e., baseline), 12 month, and 24 month screening results. We found that patients who had a negative baseline screening but tested positive for lung cancer at the 12- or 24-month screen had lower survival and higher mortality rates than patients who had a positive initial screen that was a non-cancerous abnormality but developed lung cancer in subsequent screens. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Although individuals who had a negative screening result for the baseline and developed lung cancer in subsequent screens are rare, our results point to two important issues:
1) if someone has a negative lung cancer screening result still needs to continue to get annual screens,
2) more research is needed to develop biomarkers that can predict high-risk participants that may develop a clinically aggressive lung cancer. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Although tobacco cessation is one of the most important ways to reduce your risk of lung cancer, LDCT screening is a proven method to detect lung cancer earlier when it is easier to treat. Moreover, LDCT screening is not a one-time event. For screening to be effective, individuals need to be screened on regular yearly intervals. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Funding support came from the James & Esther King Biomedical Research Program-Team Science Project (2KT01 to Dr. Gillies); the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (U01-CA143062 to Dr. Gillies) and the NCI Early Detection Research Network (U01-CA152662 to Dr. Massion). This work has also been supported in part by a Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute; an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center (grant number P30-CA76292). Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Matthew B. Schabath, Pierre P. Massion, Zachary J. Thompson, Steven A. Eschrich, Yoganand Balagurunathan, Dmitry Goldof, Denise R. Aberle, Robert J. Gillies. Differences in Patient Outcomes of Prevalence, Interval, and Screen-Detected Lung Cancers in the CT Arm of the National Lung Screening Trial. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (8): e0159880 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0159880

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD