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Participant Selection for Lung Cancer Screening by Risk Modelling: a Single-Arm, Prospective Study

By November 2, 2017No Comments

Results from retrospective studies indicate that selecting individuals for low-dose CT lung cancer screening on the basis of a highly predictive risk model is superior to using criteria similar to those used in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST; age, pack-year, and smoking quit-time). We designed the Pan-Canadian Early Detection of Lung Cancer (PanCan) study to assess the efficacy of a risk prediction model to select candidates for lung cancer screening, with the aim of determining whether this approach could better detect patients with early, potentially curable, lung cancer.


We did this single-armprospective study in eight centres across Canada. We recruited participants aged 50-75 years, who had smoked at some point in their life (ever-smokers), and who did not have a self-reported history of lung cancer. Participants had at least a 2% 6-year risk of lung cancer as estimated by the PanCan model, a precursor to the validated PLCOm2012 model. Risk variables in the model were age, smoking duration, pack-years, family history of lung cancer, education level, body-mass index, chest x-ray in the past 3 years, and history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Individuals were screened with low-dose CT at baseline (T0), and at 1 (T1) and 4 (T4) years post-baseline. The primary outcome of the study was incidence of lung cancer. This study is registered with, number NCT00751660.


7059 queries came into the study coordinating centre and were screened for PanCan risk. 15 were duplicates, so 7044 participants were considered for enrolment. Between Sept 24, 2008, and Dec 17, 2010, we recruited and enrolled 2537 eligible ever-smokers. After a median follow-up of 5·5 years (IQR 3·2-6·1), 172 lung cancers were diagnosed in 164 individuals (cumulative incidence 0·065 [95% CI 0·055-0·075], incidence rate 138·1 per 10 000 person-years [117·8-160·9]). There were ten interval lung cancers (6% of lungcancers and 6% of individuals with cancer): one diagnosed between T0 and T1, and nine between T1 and T4. Cumulative incidence was significantly higher than that observed in NLST (4·0%; p<0·0001). Compared with 593 (57%) of 1040 lung cancers observed in NLST, 133 (77%) of 172 lung cancers in the PanCan Study were early stage (I or II; p<0·0001).


The PanCan model was effective in identifying individuals who were subsequently diagnosed with early, potentially curable, lung cancer. The incidence of cancers detected and the proportion of early stage cancers in the screened population was higher than observed in previous studies. This approach should be considered for adoption in lung cancer screening programmes.