Results are arriving from new science, and the news ties to medical monitoring claims against the tobacco industry. Specifically, the National Cancer Institute issued yesterday a "breaking news" release regarding data emerging from long term, double-blind studies on using low dose CT scans to try to find lung cancers earlier in people with major smoking histories. The data released so far indicates that the CT scans are useful. More data is promised for the fairly near future. Here is the relevant NCI web page. This prior post covered a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling embracing medical monitoring claims in this context. Set out below are key excerpts from the NCI web page:
What was the primary initial result of the NLST? NLST researchers found 20 percent fewer lung cancer deaths among trial participants screened with low-dose helical CT relative to chest X-ray. This finding was highly significant from a statistical viewpoint.
Were there any other important findings from this study? An additional finding, which was not the main endpoint of the trial’s design, showed that all-cause mortality (deaths due to any factor, including lung cancer) was 7 percent lower in those screened with low-dose helical CT relative to those screened with chest X-ray. This finding should not be interpreted to mean that the general population should now get regular CT. These results apply to a high-risk population. Additionally, the risks of regular CT screens could be considerable, especially for relatively healthy people.
When will the full set of results from this study be released? After a more comprehensive analysis of the findings from the NLST, the investigators will prepare manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. The NCI will ensure that the analysis and manuscript preparation are performed as swiftly as possible and that the formal presentations are fully and rapidly made available to the public.