Treatment of Stage I Lung Cancer Detected by Computed Tomography Screening

David S. Gierada, Yun Zhu Bai, Matthew B. Spraker, Anne Stilinovic, Ruben G. Nava

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Introduction: Reducing lung cancer deaths through early detection by computed tomography (CT) screening requires delivery of effective treatment. We performed this retrospective study to determine the types of treatment used for screen-detected stage I lung cancer at our academic center and to compare the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients by type of treatment. Methods: All persons screened in the lung cancer screening program at our institution through June 16, 2021, were included. Those with screening CT findings needing follow-up were managed through a thoracic surgery clinic. Demographic and clinical characteristics of patients diagnosed with having stage I lung cancer through June 16, 2021, were compared by type of treatment, with follow-up through December 31, 2021. Results: Stage I NSCLC was diagnosed in 54 of 2203 persons screened (2.5%), on the basis of biopsy in 37 and on imaging findings in 17 patients in whom a tissue diagnosis could not be obtained. Treatment was by lobectomy in 18, sublobar resection in 14, and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in 22. Patients treated with SBRT had lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second (p < 0.001) and diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (p < 0.001) and more comorbidities (p = 0.003) than those treated with surgery. New or recurrent cancer developed in nine patients (three lobectomy, three sublobar resection, three SBRT). Conclusions: Many patients with screen-detected stage I lung cancer are medically unfit for lobectomy, and a variety of treatments are being used. Assessment of treatment-based outcomes will be critical for ensuring an optimal balance of the risks and benefits of CT screening in a medically diverse population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100399
JournalJTO Clinical and Research Reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • CT
  • Lung cancer
  • Screening
  • Treatment


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