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Lung cancer screening trial compares CT and standard x-ray

Emory University has been awarded a $5 million grant to participate in a multi-institutional investigation to study the best way to detect lung cancer in smokers, with an end goal of saving more lives following diagnosis of the disease. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) will compare two methods of detecting lung cancer in healthy older individuals: computed tomography (CT) and standard chest X-ray.

"Both CT scans and chest X-rays are now used to detect lung cancer," says Kay Vydareny, M.D., professor of radiology, Emory University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the NLST at Emory. "In fact, chest X-rays have been the primary means of lung cancer diagnosis for more than 100 years. Through past data, we now know that CT scans can pick up smaller nodules than X-rays, some of which will be cancer. But what we don't know is if detecting these smaller cancers early will help us decrease lung cancer deaths. This trial will help us learn whether CT scans or chest X-rays are better at reducing lung cancer deaths."

Funded by the National Cancer Institute and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), this study will enroll 50,000 current or former smokers across the U.S. over a period of eight years. ACRIN will directly fund Emory's trial, which will enroll 1,500 participants. Those participants will be randomly selected to receive either CT scans or X-rays to screen for lung cancer. Screening will take place once a year for three years. Participants will then be followed for five years after the screenings end to monitor their health. The follow-up period will help to determine the long-term benefits of these two detection methods.

For years, cigarette smoking has been considered a major cause of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2002, an estimated 154,900 people will die from lung cancer, accou
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Contact: Janet Christenbury
jmchris@emory.edu
404-727-8599
Emory University Health Sciences Center
18-Sep-2002


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