Purpose: Lung cancer has a high mortality rate and its prognosis largely depends on early detection. We report the prevalence data of the study on early detection of lung cancer with low-dose spiral CT underway at our hospital.
Materials and methods: Since the beginning of 2001, 519 asymptomatic volunteers have undergone annual blood tests, sputum tests, urinalyses and low-dose spiral CT. The inclusion criteria were age (=/> 55 years old), a history of cigarette smoking and a negative history for previous neoplastic disease. The diagnostic workup varied depending on the size and CT features of the nodules detected.
Results: At baseline, the CT scan detected nodules > 5 mm in 22% of subjects; the nodules were single in 42 and multiple in 71. In 53% of cases the findings were completely negative, while in 122 (23.4%) nodules with a diameter < 5 mm were detected. Six cases of lung cancer were identified, of which four were stage I, one stage was IIIB and one was stage IV with adrenal metastases.
Conclusions: Our preliminary data on spiral CT as a potential new diagnostic tool for lung cancer screening, although less promising than the Japanese and ELCAP results, confirm the feasibility of the technique. Additional validation is, however, required.