CT screening for lung cancer: the first ten years

Cancer J. 2002 May-Jun;8 Suppl 1:S47-54.


This article reviews the current state of knowledge regarding computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer. The initial 3 studies have demonstrated the superiority of CT-based screening for lung cancer over traditional radiography. Furthermore, false-positive tests common on baseline screening were manageable without notable excess of biopsies or thoracotomies. Differences and similarities of various screening regimens are discussed in relation to reported study results. When comparing the various studies, the focus should be placed on the diagnostic distribution achieved under annual repeat screening, as it is this distribution which is obtained year after year of repeat screening and this distribution and the curability of these repeat screen-diagnosed lung cancer which determine the usefulness of the screening regimen. To date, these studies demonstrate a consistent shift to over 80% of the cancer being diagnosed in Stage IA. This marked shift suggest that the curability of screen-detected lung cancers will be markedly improved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mass Screening / instrumentation
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / trends