Lung cancer screening programs demonstrate reduced disease mortality

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In the 52nd Congress of the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR) one of the pathologies on which more novelties have been presented is without a doubt the lung cancer. Specifically, during the symposium “Screening for lung cancer: is more evidence needed?”, The European study NELSON of lung cancer screening with low dose radiation computed tomography, whose conclusions confirm that this tool is useful for detecting asymptomatic lung cancer.

Specifically, the NELSON study, with nearly 16,000 recruited individuals, has shown that low-dose radiation computed tomography (DTC) is an effective screening tool, reducing mortality from lung cancer in men by 26 percent after 10 years of follow-up The reduction in mortality was greater in women, and it was noted that the overall adherence in that study reached 86 percent.

In this regard, Luis M. Seijo, co-director of the Department of Pneumology of the University Hospital of Navarra and member of the Thoracic Oncology Area of ​​SEPAR, stated that “this is the second prospective randomized trial that supports the effectiveness of cancer screening programs. of lung through an annual TCBD. Both the NELSON study and the NLST (a previous study) have shown a significant and clinically relevant reduction in lung cancer mortality, attributable to the TCBD. In addition, the real benefit is greater when more rounds of screening are completed. ” For all this the expert concluded that it was clear that thanks to this type of screenings “we could detect more initial cases and save lives”.

Lung screening in Spain

The experience in Spain of lung cancer screening, which has been implemented for the time being through assistance programs in some centers in our country such as the University Clinic of Navarra, the Jiménez Díaz Foundation, or the IVO “has shown that there is a strong link between emphysema and lung cancer and improved our knowledge of risk sharing with COPD, “said Juan Carlos Trujillo, thoracic surgeon and coordinator of the Area of ​​Thoracic Oncology of SEPAR.

In this same line, the expert stated that before the NELSON study “the evidence accumulated in Europe had not been able to confirm the North American findings because they are smaller clinical trials and with few patients.” However, now “the results of the NELSON study reinforce the need to implement lung cancer screening in Europe, as different scientific societies, including SEPAR, defend”, and therefore, they also reinforce these initiatives in Spain.

By way of conclusion, and with a view to the future, it should be remembered that there are other lines of research open to optimize some aspects of lung cancer screening, focusing on determining the efficacy of possible biomarkers in blood, sputum or urine.


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