Deaths from lung cancer exceed those from any other type of malignancy, with 1·5 million deaths in 2010. Prevention and smoking cessation are still the main methods to reduce the death toll. The US National Lung Screening Trial, which compared CT screening with chest radiograph, yielded a mortality advantage of 20% to participants in the CT group. International debate is ongoing about whether sufficient evidence exists to implement CT screening programmes. When questions about effectiveness and cost-effectiveness have been answered, which will await publication of the largest European trial, NELSON, and pooled analysis of European CT screening trials, we discuss the main topics that will need consideration. These unresolved issues are risk prediction models to identify patients for CT screening; radiological protocols that use volumetric analysis for indeterminate nodules; options for surgical resection of CT-identified nodules; screening interval; and duration of screening. We suggest that a demonstration project of biennial screening over a 4-year period should be undertaken.
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