Prospective CT screening for lung cancer in a high-risk population: HIV-positive smokers

Alicia Hulbert, Craig M. Hooker, Jeanne C. Keruly, Travis Brown, Karen Horton, Eliott Fishman, Kristen Rodgers, Beverly Lee, Celis Sam, Salina Tsai, Elizabeth Weihe, Genevieve Pridham, Brad Drummond, Christian Merlo, Maria Geronimo, Michelle Porter, Solange Cox, Dan Li, Marian Harline, Mario TeranJohn Wrangle, Beatrice Mudge, Gregory Taylor, Gregory D. Kirk, James G. Herman, Richard D. Moore, Robert H. Brown, Malcolm V. Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Epidemiological evidence suggests that HIV-infected individuals are at increased risk of lung cancer, but no data exist because large computed tomography (CT) screening trials routinely exclude HIV-infected participants. METHODS:: From 2006 to 2013, we conducted the world's first lung cancer screening trial of 224 HIV-infected current/former smokers to assess the CT detection rates of lung cancer. We also used 130 HIV-infected patients with known lung cancer to determine radiographic markers of lung cancer risk using multivariate analysis. RESULTS:: Median age was 48 years with 34 pack-years smoked. During 678 person-years, one lung cancer was found on incident screening. Besides this lung cancer case, 18 deaths (8%) occurred, but none were cancer related. There were no interim diagnoses of lung or extrapulmonary cancers. None of the pulmonary nodules detected in 48 participants at baseline were diagnosed as cancer by study end. The heterogeneity of emphysema across the entire lung as measured by CT densitometry was significantly higher in HIV-infected subjects with lung cancer compared with the heterogeneity of emphysema in those without HIV (p ≤ 0.01). On multivariate regression analysis, increased age, higher smoking pack-years, low CD4 nadir, and increased heterogeneity of emphysema on quantitative CT imaging were all significantly associated with lung cancer. CONCLUSIONS:: Despite a high rate of active smoking among HIV-infected participants, only one lung cancer was detected in 678 patient-years. This was probably because of the young age of participants suggesting that CT screening of high-risk populations should strongly consider advanced age as a critical inclusion criterion. Future screening trials in urban American must also incorporate robust measures to ensure HIV patient compliance, adherence, and smoking cessation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-759
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Computed tomography screening
  • HIV
  • High-risk populations
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung cancer screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Prospective CT screening for lung cancer in a high-risk population: HIV-positive smokers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this