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Delivering low-dose CT screening for lung cancer: a pragmatic approach
  1. Carolyn Horst1,
  2. Jennifer L Dickson1,
  3. Sophie Tisi1,
  4. Mamta Ruparel1,
  5. Arjun Nair2,
  6. Anand Devaraj3,
  7. Sam M Janes1
  1. 1 Lungs for Living Research Centre, UCL Respiratory, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Radiology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  3. 3 Department of Radiology, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Arjun Nair; arjun.nair1{at}; Dr Anand Devaraj; A.Devaraj{at}; Professor Sam M Janes; s.janes{at}

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Lung cancer kills an estimated 35 000 people in the UK every year. Despite the improvements in treating late-stage disease, lung cancer outcomes have changed little in the last 40 years. Low-dose CT (LDCT) screening for lung cancer reduces lung cancer mortality by 20%–24% and all-cause mortality by 7%.1 2 Lung cancer screening (LCS) however remains contentious, particularly how to implement it in an efficient and efficacious way. This contention extends to the potential costs of screening—financial to the National Health Service (NHS), and physical and psychological harms to patients. These concerns are particularly relevant to how we manage both the findings we aim to detect through screening (pulmonary nodules) and those we pick up inadvertently (incidental findings). The SUMMIT Study is the largest CT screening study in Europe and a key endpoint is detailing the feasibility of delivering CT screening across a complete population within the NHS. We present here SUMMIT’s approach to nodule and incidental findings management, a pragmatic model that is neither overly burdensome nor unsafe and provides a practical solution to some of the challenges of LDCT LCS.

The SUMMIT Study

The SUMMIT study ( NCT03934866) is an LCS study recruiting individuals 55–77 years old at high risk of lung and other smoking-related cancers to LDCT screening. Its twin aims are to examine the performance of delivering an LDCT screening service for lung cancer to a high-risk population and to validate a cell-free nucleic acid blood test for detection of multiple cancers. The study began enrolment in April 2019 after the development of protocols for the management of pulmonary nodules and incidental findings that enabled a consistent approach to management across the entirety of the study (target recruitment of 25 000). The study aims to deliver a programme of LCS that is pragmatic, evidence-based, and practically deliverable by …

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  • CH and JLD contributed equally.

  • Contributors CH and JLD contributed equally to the writing of this article, and to the development of the guidelines and protocols discussed. All other authors contributed to the development of the materials discussed in the article and to refining the finished manuscript.

  • Funding The SUMMIT Study is funded by GRAIL.

  • Competing interests The SUMMIT Study is funded by GRAIL. SMJ is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Science and supported by the Rosetrees Trust, UCLH Charitable Foundation and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. This work was partially supported by the UCLH/UCL Department of Health’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre’s funding scheme, the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence and CRUK Early Detection Centre. AD declares personal fees from Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Galapagos and Galecto. CH, JLD, ST and MR are funded or part-funded by GRAIL as part of the SUMMIT Study. AN declares that he is a member of the Advisory Board for Aidence, The Netherlands, and he is part-funded by the UCLH Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.