Fewer patients diagnosed with lung cancer are meeting the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force criteria for screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT).

Screening criteria may need to be changed, since fewer American adults now have a smoking history of 30-pack years and have quit within the last 15 years, according to Dr. Ping Yang of the division of epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and her colleagues.

A retrospective analysis of patients with pathologically confirmed lung cancer in Olmsted County, Minn., between 1984 and 2011 found that in 1984-1990, 57% of patients with diagnosed lung cancer met USPSTF screening guidelines . By 2005-2011, the figure had dropped significantly to 43%.

The proportion of women who would have been eligible under the criteria decreased from 52% to 37% in the same time period; the proportion of men had dropped from 60% to 50%, they found.

“More sensitive screening criteria may need to be identified while balancing the potential harm from computed tomography,” Dr. Yang and her colleagues wrote (JAMA 2015 Feb. 24;313:853-5).

Lung cancer incidence trends in this study were comparable with Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results data, but may not be generalizable to the U.S. population, they added.The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic Foundation. The authors reported no relevant conflicts of interest.