Two decades of I-ELCAP follow-up data show 80% lung cancer-specific survival rate

CHICAGO — The diagnosis of early-stage lung cancer with low-dose CT (LDCT) screening led to high rates of lung cancer-specific survival two decades later, according to I-ELCAP data.

The 20-year lung cancer-specific survival rate was 80% for the 1,285 I-ELCAP participants diagnosed with early-stage disease, reported Claudia Henschke, MD, PhD, of Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting.

She also reported 100% lung cancer-specific survival rates for the 139 participants with non-solid cancerous lung nodules and the 155 patients with nodules of part-solid consistency, and a rate of 73% for the 991 participants with solid nodules.

The estimated lung cancer-specific survival for clinical stage IA lung cancers, and for resected pathologic stage IA lung cancers measuring ≤10 mm in average diameter of length and width on the same CT image, was 86%, regardless of consistency. For participants with pathologic stage IA cancers of ≤10 mm, the 20-year lung cancer-specific survival rate was 92%, Henschke stated.

The current study builds on findings from 2006, when I-ELCAP researchers identified a 10-year lung cancer-specific survival rate of 88% for early-stage disease found on LDCT screening.

Henschke told MedPage Today that although lung cancer screening has now been accepted as life-saving therapy, “only about 15% of the people who are eligible to undergo screening are being screened.” She noted that the radiation dose used to screen people for lung cancer is about 10% of the dose used in most mammograms.

“We have made progress in screening, because at the time we started this, there was no screening at all,” she said. “But we still have a long way to go.”

Henschke suggested that there are numerous reasons that lung cancer screening has not caught on with more patients and clinicians, the main being a widespread belief that if lung cancer is detected there isn’t much one can do about it, and that the treatment is draconian.