Purpose: To compare low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) with radiography of the chest for the screening and detection of small peripheral lung cancers in a high-risk population.
Materials and methods: Posteroanterior and lateral radiographs and low-dose spiral CT scans were obtained twice a year from September 1993 to April 1995 in 1,369 individuals (a total of 3,457 examinations) who were at high risk for lung cancer. Low-dose spiral CT parameters were 120 kvP, 50 mA, 10-mm collimation, and 2:1 pitch.
Results: Peripheral lung cancer was detected in 15 of 3,457 examinations (0.3%). Among the 15 cases, the results of chest radiography were negative in 11 (73%), and the tumors were detected only at low-dose spiral CT. The detection rates of low-dose spiral CT and chest radiography were 0.43% (15 of 3,457 examinations), respectively. Fourteen (93%) of the 15 (exclusion of one pulmonary lung cancer) tumors were stage I.
Conclusion: Low-dose spiral CT was superior to chest radiography in the screening and detection of peripheral lung cancer in high-risk individuals. Further large-scale studies are warranted, however, to clarify the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of low-dose spiral CT in a randomized, controlled population.