The EU Position Statement on Lung Cancer Screening (EUPS), recently published in Lancet Oncology, has presented the available evidence and current issues that need to be addressed to ensure the successful implementation of lung cancer screening programs in Europe. The statement was developed by over 20 European clinical specialists in lung cancer screening and highly recommends European countries should being taking action to lung screening programs as soon as possible.
The EUPS provides a detailed set of recommendations on how European countries can successfully implement lung cancer screening. The report included a ‘Call to Action’ plan detailing a timeline for implementation over the next 18 months, the hope is to initiate such lung cancer screening programs following this period.
The report highlights a number of issues across Europe that need addressing before the programs described in the EUPS can be implemented. These include the need for investment in static and mobile CT scanner units, the need to recruit and train sufficient radiologists and a plan for how to identify and invite high-risk individuals for screening.
Matthijs Oudkerk, lead author of the EUPS (University of Groningen, Netherlands) explained: “The EUPS provides Europe with a detailed 18 month timeline in which to implement lung cancer screening that will have an enormous impact on the disease. The EUPS recommends the introduction of forefront radiological lung cancer volumetric biomarkers together with precision medicine management approaches to be applied to lung cancer screening, which will minimize the harms and have a positive impact on decreasing lung cancer mortality.”
Within the EU, lung cancer is responsible for approximately 270,000 deaths annually. Evidence from trials, such as the US National Lung Cancer Screening Trial , suggests that early detection of lung cancer is vital to improving a patient’s prognosis.
Author of the EUPS and lead of the US National Lung Cancer Screening Trial, John Field (University of Liverpool, UK), reported: “Quite simply, lung cancer screening saves lives. There is now a consensus opinion across Europe that we should start to plan for the implementation of lung cancer CT screening immediately.”
Field concluded: “While there are a number of early detection demonstration studies offering screening to high-risk patients currently underway across the UK, these are all time-limited due to their funding. We should be laying the foundations now for a comprehensive long term lung cancer CT screening program and undertake the required planning within the next 18 months.”