Dr. David Gerber, an oncologist and assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues used the electronic medical records data of more than 400 patients in a single-center study -- the National Lung Screening Trial.
The data from 2010, already showed a reduction in lung cancer mortality as a result of widespread CT-based screening of select populations -- ages 55-74 and a smoking history of at least 30 years of one-pack-a-day smoking.
Gerber and his team reviewed the records of patients diagnosed with Stage 1 or Stage 2 non-small cell lung cancer over a recent 10-year period and found that the proportion of cases identified by CT scan -- without preceding chest X-ray -- increased almost 50 percent during this period.
"However, in our sample, almost 25 percent of patients with early-stage disease would be ineligible for screening because they are too old under National Lung Screening Trial criteria criteria," Gerber said.
"Our results suggest that a substantial proportion of patients currently presenting with early-stage lung cancer would continue to do so independently of screening if such a program were implemented according to National Lung Screening Trial criteria."
The findings were published in the Public Library of Science's online journal.