The American College of Radiology is endorsing the United States Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) recent recommendation for using low-dose computed tomography (CT) to detect lung cancer in high-risk patients. The USPSTF Grade B recommendation applies to adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30-year smoking history and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The ACR is currently developing appropriateness criteria to ensure patient access to uniform quality care for lung cancer screening.

National Lung Cancer Screening Trial studies have shown that low-dose CT can significantly reduce lung cancer deaths. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and private insurers must cover all medical exams and procedures that receive a grade of “B” or higher from the USPSTF. The ACR guidelines will address how CT lung cancer screening scans should be performed and interpreted. A lung image database and practice auditing system with an illustrated lexicon, structured reporting, and management recommendations—similar to the BI-RADS system used in mammography—are also in development.

“This USPSTF recommendation and expanded use of CT lung cancer screening in high-risk patients represents a landmark step in the battle against the nation’s number one cancer killer.  The College expects to complete development of CT Lung Cancer Screening Appropriateness Criteria and corresponding practice guidelines and standards in the coming months. This will help ensure safe, effective diagnostic care for those at high-risk for lung cancer,” said Paul Ellenbogen, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors.

For more information, visit the ACR.