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Br J Cancer. 2014 Apr 2;110(7):1834-40. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2014.63. Epub 2014 Feb 13.

Translation of research results to simple estimates of the likely effect of a lung cancer screening programme in the United Kingdom.

Author information

Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Research Programme, The University of Liverpool Cancer Research Centre, Roy Castle Building, 200 London Road, Liverpool L3 9TA, UK.
Registre du Cancer de l Isère, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble, BP 217, Pavillon E, 38043 Grenoble, Cedex 9, France.



There is considerable interest in the possibility of provision of lung cancer screening services in many developed countries. There is, however, no consensus on the target population or optimal screening regimen.


In this paper, we demonstrate the use of published results on lung cancer screening and natural history parameters to estimate the likely effects of annual and biennial screening programmes in different risk populations, in terms of deaths prevented and of human costs, including screening episodes, further investigation rates and overdiagnosis.


Annual screening with the UK Lung Screening Study eligibility criteria was estimated to result in 956 lung cancer deaths prevented and 457 overdiagnosed cancers from 330,000 screening episodes. Biennial screening would result in 802 lung cancer deaths prevented and 383 overdiagnosed cancers for 180,000 screening episodes.


The predictions suggest that the intervention effect could justify the human costs. The evidence base for low-dose CT screening for lung cancer pertains almost entirely to annual screening. The benefit of biennial screening is subject to additional uncertainty but the issue merits further empirical research.

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