Tuberc Respir Dis.  2004 Aug;57(2):118-124. 10.4046/trd.2004.57.2.118.

Lung Cancer Screening with Low-dose Computed Tomography

  • 1Department of Radiology Soonchunhyang University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the industrialized world. It is desirable to detect disease at a stage when it is not causing symptoms and when control or cure is possible. If the screening test detects patients with the disease at an early stage, they can be examined to confirm the diagnosis and intervention can alter the natural history of the disease. The results of screening programs designed to detect early lung cancer using either conventional chest radiograph or sputum cytology are disappointing for a diagnostic screening test. Because of advances in helical CT imaging techniques, screening for lung cancer has been suggested as a possible method of improving outcome. Findings in recent publications suggest that substantial dose reduction is possible in chest CT. The advantages of low-dose CT are more sensitive than chest radiograph for detecting small pulmonary nodules that may be lung cancers, shorter scanning time than conventional chest CT scan without intravenous contrast injection, cheaper cost than standard CT, low radiation dose. However, the true clinical significance of the small tumors found by screening is still unknown, and their effect on mortality awaits future investigation. Furthermore, in addition to detecting an increased number of lung cancers, low-dose CT found at least one indeterminate nodule in many of all screened patients. The majority should be benign but evaluation of all these indeterminate nodules is not a trivial problem in routine practice. In conclusion, lung cancer screening with low-dose CT is a complex subject. The true effectiveness of lung cancer screening (a reduction in mortality from lung cancer) with low-dose CT can be determined through well-designed randomized control trials with enrolment of appropriate subjects.


Lung neoplasms; Cancer screening; Computed tomography (CT)
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