Study: Researchers Find Benefits in Lung Nodule Program to Aid Lung Cancer Diagnosis


The prospective observational study assessed a 2-year increasing lung cancer diagnosis risk, lung cancer characteristics, and the overall survival between LNP and LDCT screening.

New study findings announced a lung nodule program (LNP) that could improve early detection of lung cancer, according to research published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. The LNP focused on exposure of lung cancer in individuals that were not qualified for lung cancer screenings.

Doctor examining a lung radiography - Image credit: Minerva Studio |

Image credit: Minerva Studio |

The study authors noted that the LNP was intended to reevaluate lung nodules that were previously found in routine images, that were not deemed to be lung cancer or lung cancer screening.

According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, individuals aged 50 to 80 years that have a 20 pack per year smoking history and smoke in the present or have quit within the past 15 years are advised to receive low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening once a year to check for lung cancer.

The LDCT screening to find lung cancer was reported to decrease mortality by 20%. However, many individuals diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States are unable to receive a screening. LNP could provide early access to lung cancer detection and could reach a greater population to help reduce mortality.

The trial was a prospective observational study that assessed 2-year increasing lung cancer diagnosis risk, lung cancer characteristics, and the overall survival (OS) between individuals aged 50 to 80 years who underwent LDCT, and individuals aged 35 to 50 years and over 80 years of age who underwent LNP.

“The study compared the cumulative lung cancer diagnosis risk, lesion characteristics, lung cancer characteristics, treatment and outcomes of screening age-ineligible persons in a LNP to an LDCT screening cohort,” said Raymond U. Osarogiagbon, MBBS, FACP, lead researcher, chief scientist for Baptist Memorial Health Care and director of the multidisciplinary thoracic oncology program and the thoracic oncology research group for Baptist Cancer Center, in a press release.

The study took place from 2015 to 2022 and included socio-economic characteristics and risk factor profiles for individuals who were diagnosed with lung cancer from the LNP, compared to the LDCT screening. However, individuals in the LNP cohort were confirmed to be at greater risk of a lung cancer diagnosis at 2 years compared to individuals in the LDCT group.

The results found that 329 individuals in the LDCT group were diagnosed with lung cancer throughout the study, compared to 39 young and 172 elderly individuals in the LNP group.

“The 2-year cumulative incidence rates were 3.0% (95% CI: 2.6%–3.4%) for LDCT, 0.79% (CI: 0.54%–1.1%) for young LNP, and 6.5% (CI: 5.5%–7.6%) for elderly LNP,” said the study authors in a press release.

The results also found that 62.92% of individuals in the LDCT cohort were diagnosed at stage I and stage III, compared to 33.33% of young and 48.26% of elderly individuals in the LNP cohorts. Further analysis demonstrated that 16.72% of LDCT were diagnosed at stage IV, compared to 41.03% of young and 29.65% of elderly individuals in the LNP cohort.

The overall survival rate was reported to extend for 5 years— 57%, 55%, and 24% for LNP and LDCT screenings.

"Our findings indicate that our Lung Nodule Program modestly benefitted individuals deemed too young or too old for traditional screening,” said Osarogiagbon, in a press release. “The observed differences in clinical characteristics and outcomes strongly suggest variations in the biological characteristics of lung cancer in these distinct patient cohorts."


Lung nodule program provides benefits patients ineligible for lung cancer screening. EurekAlert!. News release. December 18, 2023. Accessed January 5, 2024.

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