Background: The outcome among patients with clinical stage I cancer that is detected on annual screening using spiral computed tomography (CT) is unknown.
Methods: In a large collaborative study, we screened 31,567 asymptomatic persons at risk for lung cancer using low-dose CT from 1993 through 2005, and from 1994 through 2005, 27,456 repeated screenings were performed 7 to 18 months after the previous screening. We estimated the 10-year lung-cancer-specific survival rate among participants with clinical stage I lung cancer that was detected on CT screening and diagnosed by biopsy, regardless of the type of treatment received, and among those who underwent surgical resection of clinical stage I cancer within 1 month. A pathology panel reviewed the surgical specimens obtained from participants who underwent resection.
Results: Screening resulted in a diagnosis of lung cancer in 484 participants. Of these participants, 412 (85%) had clinical stage I lung cancer, and the estimated 10-year survival rate was 88% in this subgroup (95% confidence interval [CI], 84 to 91). Among the 302 participants with clinical stage I cancer who underwent surgical resection within 1 month after diagnosis, the survival rate was 92% (95% CI, 88 to 95). The 8 participants with clinical stage I cancer who did not receive treatment died within 5 years after diagnosis.
Conclusions: Annual spiral CT screening can detect lung cancer that is curable.
Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.