Early Screening Improves Lung Cancer Survival by 73 Percent

Discovering lung cancer in the early stage shows significant survival benefits.

Early screening was found to have a significant impact on lung cancer survival in a recent study.

Successful results from the United Kingdom Lung cancer screening trial (UKLS) showed that patients with a high risk of developing lung cancer can be identified with early stage disease and have up to a 73% chance of survival for 5 years or more.

This provided the UK National Screening Committee with further evidence on whether to implement a national screening program in the UK in the future. The trial was the first and only lung cancer screening trial conducted in the UK and was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment program.

The findings have provided more in-depth information on how a national lung cancer CT screening program should be set up, as well as providing a risk prediction model to identify high risk individuals.

The randomized, controlled, UKLS trial tested lung cancer screenings versus the usual care in 4055 patients. Researchers used a population-based questionnaire to identify individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer.

The screening used Low Dose Computed tomography (LDCT) to create detailed pictures or scans of the body to identify very early lung cancer nodules.

“The UKLS study is a further piece of evidence that low dose CT in high risk individuals can save lives,” said Edward Gaynor, clinical lead on cancer for Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group.

“This is particularly relevant in Liverpool where we have one of the highest incidents and mortality rates of lung cancer and the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group is actively exploring how it can apply the findings in this study to the benefit of Liverpool through the Healthy Lung Project.”

The trial received full ethical approval and the results were published in the HITA Publications.

Although the findings suggest that the screening intervention could be cost effective, more research needs to be conducted using data on observed lung cancer mortality reduction.

“The UKLS trial has successfully demonstrated that we have a way to screen for lung cancer in high risk individuals in the UK,” said chief trial investigator John Field. “However, as UKLS was a pilot trial, researchers are currently awaiting the outcome of the Dutch CT screening trial, which will potentially provide mortality data to argue for implementation of a national lung cancer screening program in the UK.

“If we could detect lung cancer via screening of high risk individuals, it would make a major impact on the diagnosis of lung cancer at an earlier stage of the disease and would greatly improve the survival rates of those affected by this terrible disease.”