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Ottawa researchers contribute to Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI)-led study that will improve lung cancer diagnosis

September 4, 2013

Ottawa researchers have contributed to a Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI)-led study that has developed a new clinical risk calculator software that accurately classifies, nine out of ten times, which spots or lesions (nodules) are benign and malignant on an initial lung computed tomography (CT) scan among individuals at high risk for lung cancer.

The findings are expected to have immediate clinical impact worldwide among health professionals who currently diagnose and treat individuals at risk for or who are diagnosed with lung cancer, and provide new evidence for developing and improving lung-cancer screening programs. A total of 12,029 lung cancer nodules observed on CTs of 2,961 current and former smokers were examined in the population-based study.

The results, to be published in the Sept. 5th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), will have an immediate impact on clinical practice, says co-principal investigator Dr. Stephen Lam, chair of BC’s Provincial Lung Tumour Group at the BC Cancer Agency and a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia.

“We already know that CT screening saves lives. Now, we have evidence that our model and risk calculator can accurately predict which abnormalities that show up on a first CT require further follow up, such as a repeat CT scan, a biopsy, or surgery, and which ones do not. This is extremely good news for everyone – from the people who are high risk for developing lung cancer to the radiologists, respirologists and thoracic surgeons who detect and treat it. Currently, there are no Canadian guidelines for us to use in clinical practice.”

Dr. Garth Nicholas is the site investigator for the trial at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is also a lung cancer specialist at The Ottawa Hospital and an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

For more information (including national media contacts), please see the Terry Fox Research Institute media release. For local media enquiries, please contact Pauline Tam, Director, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, The Ottawa Hospital, ptam@toh.on.ca.

About TFRI/TFF
Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) is the brainchild of The Terry Fox Foundation (TFF). TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 50 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada. The Terry Fox Foundation (TFF) maintains the vision and principles of Terry Fox while raising money for cancer research through the annual Terry Fox Run, National School Run Day and other fundraising initiatives which, to date, have raised over $600 million worldwide. The 33rd Terry Fox Run will take place across Canada at more than 800 community sites on Sunday, September 15. For more information, visit www.tfri.ca and www.terryfox.org

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. www.ohri.ca