Feature | November 18, 2014

New Lung Cancer Screening Could Be Cost Effective According to Dartmouth Study

This finding can inform debate over early cancer detection method

CT Systems, National Lung Screening Trial, Lung Cancer, Centers for Medicare

Image courtesy of Vital Images Inc.

November 18, 2014 — Dartmouth researchers say lung cancer screening in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) meets a commonly accepted standard for cost effectiveness. The relatively new screening test uses annual low-dose CT scans to spot lung tumors early in individuals facing the highest risks of lung cancer due to age and smoking history.

"The takeaway from this study is that there is potential for lung cancer screening to be done in a cost-effective manner, particularly for adults 65-75 years of age," says William C. Black, M.D., chair of the Lung Cancer Screening Group at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and professor at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Black is a leading national researcher of lung cancer screening.

The Dartmouth study found that screening costs $81,000 for each quality-adjusted year of life it produces. The statistic, known as Cost per Quality-Adjusted-Life-Years (QALYs), considers the overall costs of a medical intervention to a selected population to produce one year of perfect health. A proposed benchmark for cost-effectiveness is $100,000-$150,000 QALY.

In this study Dartmouth researchers evaluated more than 53,000 participants in the seven-year NLST, with results proving that low-dose CT screening for lung cancer can save lives. For each 1,000 people screened there were about three fewer deaths from lung cancer.

When the researchers looked at specific subgroups of study participants, they found lung cancer screening was most cost-effective for current smokers, women and for people in their sixties.

Lung cancer screening is not yet standard medical practice. For the last two years, multiple professional associations have issued statements that recommend physicians offer annual lung cancer screening to individuals 55-80 years old who have more than a 30-pack years history of smoking.

This type of screening is not without risks. In the NLST, roughly one-third of those screened had a "false alarm" requiring further testing, usually a repeat of the CT scan, to rule out lung cancer. Some additional tests are invasive and come with a small risk of serious complications. 

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated in December 2013 that commercial insurers will be required to cover the test as a preventive service with no co-pays or deductibles. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), however, has yet to issue its final decision on reimbursement. A preliminary panel recommended against coverage by CMS this past spring.  

Since the NLST was conducted, the American College of Radiology narrowed its definitions of a "positive" lung cancer-screening test. This stricter guideline should decrease the number of false alarms resulting from the test.

For more information: www.cancer.dartmouth.edu

Related Content

New Study Redefines Therapeutic Dose Guidelines for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
News | Lung Cancer | April 23, 2019
Non-small cell lung cancer is a common cancer for both men and women. Many people who are diagnosed with this type of...
Konica Minolta Dynamic Digital Radiography Receives FDA Clearance

With DDR, orthopedists and MSK specialists can acquire a full view of the MSK system in the supine and prone positions to view changes in the bone and articulations throughout the full range of motion. Image courtesy of Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas.

Technology | Digital Radiography (DR) | April 23, 2019
Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc. announced that its Dynamic Digital Radiography (DDR) technology, introduced at...
Video Plus Brochure Helps Patients Make Lung Cancer Scan Decision

Image courtesy of the American Thoracic Society

News | Lung Cancer | April 19, 2019
A short video describing the potential benefits and risks of low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung...
FDA Clears GE's Deep Learning Image Reconstruction Engine
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT) | April 19, 2019
GE Healthcare has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its Deep Learning Image...
Oxipit Introduces Multilingual Support for ChestEye AI Imaging Suite
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 16, 2019
The CE-certified ChestEye artificial intelligence (AI) imaging suite by Oxipit is now available in seven European...
Enlitic Closes Series B Funding for Artificial Intelligence Solutions for Radiologists
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 08, 2019
Radiology artificial intelligence (AI) company Enlitic announced the close of its $15 million Series B financing round...
Videos | RSNA | April 03, 2019
ITN Editor Dave Fornell takes a tour of some of the most interesting new medical imaging technologies displa
Johns Hopkins Medicine First in U.S. to Install Canon Medical's Aquilion Precision
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | March 26, 2019
March 26, 2019 — Johns Hopkins Medicine now has access to the first...
At #ACC.19, Siemens unveiled a version of its go.Top platform optimized for cardiovascular imaging. The newly packaged scanner can generate the data needed to do CT-based FFR (fractional flow reserve).

At #ACC.19, Siemens unveiled a version of its go.Top platform optimized for cardiovascular imaging. The newly packaged scanner can generate the data needed to do CT-based FFR (fractional flow reserve). Photo by Greg Freiherr

Feature | Cardiac Imaging | March 22, 2019 | By Greg Freiherr
Reflecting a trend toward the increased use of...
Researchers Use Radiomics to Predict Who Will Benefit from Chemotherapy
News | Radiomics | March 21, 2019
Using data from computed tomography (CT) images, researchers may be able to predict which lung cancer patients will...