A study published recently in PLOS One and carried out at the Moffitt Cancer Centre (FL, USA) has demonstrated that patients who at initial low-dose helical computed tomography (LDCT) scan tested negative for lung cancer but within 2 years developed lung cancer had poorer survival outcomes compared with patients who initially had a noncancerous positive result from their LDCT scan.
Utilizing data from the National Lung Screening Trial, the Moffitt researchers studied patients who had previously had negative scans and then went on to develop de novo nodules that were deemed to be cancerous, as well as patients who had previously had one or more positive scans that were deemed not to be lung cancer.
By performing a post hoc analysis of the National Lung Screening Trial, the researchers studied the differences in overall survival, patient characteristics and progression-free survival at the initial scan as well as 12 months and 24 months post-scan.
Their result highlighted that a lower survival rate is observed in patients who had a negative initial scan but went on to develop lung cancer, compared with individuals who had a baseline positive scan.
First author Matthew Schabath (Moffit Cancer Center) commented: “Our findings suggest that individuals who originally present with negative screens and develop lung cancer 12 or 24 months later develop faster growing, more aggressive cancers that arose from a lung environment previously lacking abnormalities.”
The researchers believe that this study has provided a novel insight into the heterogeneity of lung cancer with their results indicating that more frequent lung cancer screens are required for high-risk individuals.
“…screening is a proven method to detect lung cancer earlier when it is easier to treat. Moreover, screening is not a one-time event. For it to be effective, high-risk individuals need to be screened on regular yearly intervals.” Schabath concluded.
Sources: Schabath MB , Massion PP,Thompson ZJ et al. Differences in Patient Outcomes of Prevalence, Interval, and Screen-Detected Lung Cancers in the CT Arm of the National Lung Screening Trial. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159880 (2016); Moffitt Cancer Center Press Release