Low-Dose CT Screening Reduces Lung Cancer Mortality

A U.K. study found that low-dose CT (LDCT) screening of lung cancer patients could reduce lung cancer mortality by as much as 16%. Led by Dr. John Field, the UK Lung Cancer Screening Trial (UKLS) findings were published on September 11, 2021, in the Lancet Regional Health—Europe.

“Results from nine randomised controlled trials were included in the meta-analysis. … LDCT screening was associated with a 16% relative reduction in lung cancer mortality when compared against a non-LDCT control arm with no significant heterogeneity,” wrote the researchers. Further findings include an overdiagnosis rate, after more recent follow-up, of only 3% with LDCT, limiting the number of follow-up procedures required for false-positive results.

This study, and other studies like it, show clearly that LDCT can be beneficial in finding lung cancer earlier when surgical treatment is more likely to be successful. The authors note, however, that “Lung cancer screening has been implemented in the USA through funding from MEDICARE but uptake has been low (~ 4%). … The targeted approach in the UK has resulted in higher participation rates (40–53%).”


John K. Field and Daniel Vulkan and Michael P.A. Davies and David R. Baldwin and Kate E. Brain and Anand Devaraj and Tim Eisen and John Gosney and Beverley A. Green and John A. Holemans and Terry Kavanagh and Keith M. Kerr and Martin Ledson and Kate J. Lifford and Fiona E. McRonald and Arjun Nair and Richard D. Page and Mahesh K.B. Parmar and Doris M. Rassl and Robert C. Rintoul and Nicholas J. Screaton and Nicholas J. Wald and David Weller and David K. Whynes and Paula R. Williamson and Gasham Yadegarfar and Rhian Gabe and Stephen W. Duffy. Lung cancer mortality reduction by LDCT screening: UKLS randomised trial results and international meta-analysis. The Lancet Regional Health – Europe, 2021 Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666776221001563 Accessed September 27, 2021.

Ward, Philip. CT lung screening reduces lung cancer mortality 16% in U.K. study. AuntMinnie.com Septembe14, 2021. Accessed September 27, 2021, at https://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=cto&pag=dis&ItemID=133475