Racial Differences in Adherence to Lung Cancer Screening Follow-up: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Chest. 2022 Jan;161(1):266-275. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.07.2172. Epub 2021 Aug 12.


Background: In 2013, the United States Preventive Services Taskforce instituted recommendations for annual lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose chest CT imaging for high-risk individuals. LCS reduces lung cancer mortality, with greater reduction observed in Black participants in clinical trials. Although racial disparities in lung cancer mortality have been well documented, less is known about disparities in LCS participation and adherence to follow-up in clinical practice.

Research question: What is the association between race and adherence to LCS follow-up?

Study design and methods: A systematic review was conducted through a search of published studies in MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Database from database inception through October 2020. We included studies that examined rates of adherence to LCS follow-up and compared rates by race. Studies were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: We screened 18,300 titles and abstracts, and 229 studies were selected for full-text review. Nine studies met inclusion criteria; seven were included in the meta-analysis. Median adherent follow-up rate was 37% (range, 16%-82%). Notable differences among the studies included the proportion of the Black population (range, 4%-47%) and the structure of the LCS programs. The meta-analyses showed lower adherence to LCS follow-up in the Black population (OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.55-0.80). This disparity persisted across all malignancy risk levels determined by initial screening results.

Interpretation: Lower adherence to LCS follow-up in Black compared with White patients occurs despite the higher potential lung cancer mortality benefit. Literature specifically addressing race-related barriers to LCS adherence remains limited. To ensure equity in LCS benefits, greater outreach to eligible Black patients should be implemented through increased physician education and use of screening program coordinators to focus on this patient population.

Trial registry: PROSPERO; No.: CRD42020214213; URL: http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO.

Keywords: adherence; lung cancer screening; meta-analysis; race; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare
  • Black or African American*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Patient Compliance / ethnology*
  • White People*