However, researchers say the program also identifies too many suspicious areas that are not cancer (false positives) and this would need to be vastly improved before the program could be used in the clinic because investigating all these would result in unnecessary biopsies.
Audelan said: “Screening for lung cancer would mean many more CT scans being taken and we do not have enough radiologists to review them all. That’s why we need to develop computer programs that can help. Our study shows that this program can find possible signs of lung cancer up to a year earlier.
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“The objective of our research is not to replace radiologists but to assist them by giving them a tool that can spot the earliest signs of lung cancer.”
The researchers plan to work on a new system that will be better able to differentiate between malignant and non-malignant tissue to help radiologists decide which patients should be investigated further.
Professor Joanna Chorostowska-Wynimko, who was not involved in the research, is the European Respiratory Society Secretary General and a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at the National Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Warsaw, Poland. She said: “Diagnosing lung cancer earlier is vital to improving survival rates and screening would be an important step towards that aim. Research shows that screening with CT scans could reduce lung cancer deaths.
“This work is promising because it shows that AI could help us to review lots of scans quickly and even pick up signs of cancer at an earlier stage. However, before this program can be used, researchers will need to make it better at distinguishing between lung tissue that is abnormal but benign and tissue that is probably cancer.”Back to HCB News