Lung cancer screening: the Mayo program

J Occup Med. 1986 Aug;28(8):746-50. doi: 10.1097/00043764-198608000-00038.


The National Cancer Institute has sponsored three randomized controlled trials of screening for early lung cancer in large, high-risk populations to determine whether lung cancer detection can be improved by adding sputum cytological screening every 4 months to chest roentgenography done either yearly or every 4 months; and lung cancer mortality can be significantly reduced by this type of screening program, followed by appropriate treatment. Results of the three trials suggest that sputum cytology alone detects 15% to 20% of lung cancers, almost all of which are squamous cancers with a favorable prognosis; and chest roentgenography may be a more effective test for early-stage lung cancer than previous reports have suggested. Nevertheless, results of the randomized trial conducted at the Mayo Clinic showed that offering both procedures to high-risk outpatients every 4 months conferred no mortality advantage over standard medical practice that included recommended annual testing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytodiagnosis
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Mass Screening*
  • Radiography
  • Random Allocation
  • Risk
  • Sputum / cytology