Study into a new European population screening for lung cancer

Editorial Medicalfacts/ Janine Budding 19 augustus 2022 – 07:12

In the coming months, approximately 400,000 Dutch people between the ages of 60 and 79 in 3 regions will receive an invitation to participate in a new European study into the early detection of lung cancer.

By: Joyce de Bruijn August 17, 2022


Reading time 3 min

beeld 4 in the lung run klein

‘This study is intended for people who smoke for a long time in their lives or who have smoked for a long time in the past. Early detection of lung cancer, even before it causes symptoms, is also known as lung cancer screening or a population screening,’ explains researcher Carlijn van der Aalst.

‘In the Netherlands, about 14,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and at least 10,000 people die each year from this disease. Unfortunately, lung cancer is often difficult to treat when it causes symptoms.’

vital importance

The 2020 NELSON study shows that early detection of lung cancer with a CT scan in smokers and ex-smokers can reduce lung cancer deaths by 25% or more. For the Netherlands, this means that with lung cancer screening, about 1500 to 2500 fewer people will die of lung cancer every year.

With the pilot population study 4-IN-THE-LUNG-RUN that is now going to run in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy and France, the researchers want to answer some important questions. One of these is: how do we reach and inform the people most at risk?

‘We will more often have to deal with people who are more difficult to reach or who may have more difficulty understanding the information. It is especially important for these people to reach them and help them understand the information’, says Van der Aalst.

How often

Another important question is: how often should CT scans be done? ‘In 8 out of 10 participants, no abnormalities are expected to be found on the first CT scan. Do they still need a new CT scan a year later, or is it safe to wait two years? That is also being investigated in this study.’

What the researchers would like to emphasize: quitting smoking, or rather: never starting smoking is the best way to prevent death from lung cancer. ‘The smoking cessation coaches are ready for participants who still smoke and need support,’ says Van der Aalst.

But because there are many people who smoke, or have done so for a long time in the past, the 4-IN-THE-LUNG-RUN study – and eventually a real population study – can contribute to reducing the serious consequences of smoking. lung cancer, the researchers find.


The 400,000 Dutch people who will soon receive a letter live around the screening locations. The AVL Center for Early Diagnosis of the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek / Netherlands Cancer Institute (Amsterdam) is the first center to be launched in the Netherlands. The personal data was obtained through the National Service for Identity Data.

Trial population study

In total, 26,000 people are examined in the Netherlands and the 4 other European countries. To determine whether someone can actually participate, the researchers ask people to complete a questionnaire. The research team then determines whether they really meet all the requirements.

‘People in whom no abnormalities are found on a first CT scan have a slightly smaller chance of lung cancer in the following years. We are therefore investigating whether it is indeed safe to wait 2 years instead of 1 year with the follow-up CT scan.’

If anything suspicious is found on the CT scan, a participant is always sent to the pulmonologist. The lung specialist then checks whether it is lung cancer. The researchers hope to have the result within a few years.

The initiative is in line with the European Cancer Mission Plan and preliminary proposals to advise the European Commission to implement this new cancer screening program across the EU. ‘With the excellent infrastructure and knowledge of lung cancer screening and therapy in the Netherlands, we can become a frontrunner in suppressing this terrible disease in the short term.’

Bron: Erasmus MC

Editorial Medicalfacts/ Janine Budding

I have specialized in interactive news for healthcare providers, so that healthcare providers are informed every day of the news that may be relevant to them. Both lay news and news specific to healthcare providers and prescribers. Social Media, Womens Health, Patient advocacy, patient empowerment, personalized medicine & Care 2.0 and the social domain are spearheads for me to pay extra attention to.

I studied physiotherapy and health care business administration. In addition, I am a registered Independent client supporter and informal care broker. I have a lot of experience in various positions in healthcare, the social domain and the medical, pharmaceutical industry, nationally and internationally. And have broad medical knowledge of most specialties in healthcare. And of the health care laws from which health care is regulated and financed. Every year I attend most of the leading medical conferences in Europe and America to keep my knowledge up-to-date and to keep up with the latest developments and innovations. I am currently doing a Masters in Applied Psychology.

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