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New Lung Cancer Guidelines Oppose General CT Screening

New Lung Cancer Guidelines Oppose General CT Screening

New evidenced-based guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) recommend against the use of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for the general screening of lung cancer. Published as a supplement to the September issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the ACCP, the guidelines cite there is little evidence to show lung cancer screening impacts mortality in patients, including those who are considered at high risk for the disease. The guidelines also recommend against the use of vitamin or mineral supplements for the prevention of lung cancer, for these do little to decrease the risk of lung cancer, while beta-carotene has been associated with increased risk of lung cancer.

"Even in high-risk populations, currently available research data do not show that lung cancer screening alters mortality outcomes," said W. Michael Alberts, MD, chair of the ACCP lung cancer guidelines and Chief Medical Officer, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Fla. "We hope that one day, we can find a useful and accurate tool for general lung cancer screening, but, at this time, the evidence does not support the use of LDCT screening."

Screening

Due to the lack of supporting evidence, the guidelines recommend against the use of LDCT, chest radiographs, or single or serial sputum cytologic evaluation for lung cancer screening in the general population, including smokers or others at high risk, except in the context of a well-designed clinical trial.

"Population screening for lung cancer is not recommended and may, ultimately, put the patient at risk for further complications," said Gene L. Colice, MD, vice chair of the ACCP lung cancer guidelines and Director, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Respiratory Services, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC. "Nodules are commonly found during screening; however, to determine whether they are cancerous requires additional testing, which is fairly invasive and extensive. This may cause the patient needless risk, both physically and psychologically."

Prevention

The guidelines also recommend against the preventive use of several of the following common supplements and medications in at-risk patients or those with a history of lung cancer:

• Beta-carotene—The guidelines strongly recommend against the use of beta-carotene supplements for primary, secondary, or tertiary prevention, citing the higher incidence of lung cancer among those who use the supplement.

• Vitamin A—The guidelines strongly recommend against the use of retinoids (vitamin A), including isotretinoin, for they have not been shown to decrease the incidence of second tumors and could increase mortality among current smokers.

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