Lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are prevalent in the general population and are expected to cause most deaths by 2050. For this so-called Big-3, early treatment has been shown to delay or stop progression, and allow therapy at a treatable stage in many patients. A new computed tomography (CT) scan technique can evaluate quantitative imaging biomarkers of early stages of the Big-3 at ultra-low radiation dose. Imaging biomarkers, combined with clinical and laboratory biomarkers and medical decision support systems, can in the future open up new avenues for effective prevention and/or early diagnostic and treatment protocols. This study provides an invaluable resource for the development and validation of biomarker profiles in the context of personalized medicine.

The Future

The project is a population-based enrolment of 12,000 randomly assigned cases from LifeLines who are over 45 years of age and completed lung function measurements as part of the standard LifeLines protocol. These participants will undergo ultra-low-dose CT of the thorax, to evaluate the presence of lung nodules, bronchial wall thickness, emphysema and coronary calcification. These imaging biomarkers will be optimized for ultra-low-dose CT imaging, and the normal values of lung density, bronchial wall thickness and coronary calcium will be derived by age and gender.

The Imalife study aims to assess reference values of lung density, bronchial wall thickness, vascular calcification and lung nodules by quantitative low-dose CT in the general population aged 45 years and above. Secondarily, it aims to assess: 1) the prevalence of early lung cancer, COPD, and CVD, and 2) the relation of quantitative imaging biomarkers of the Big-3 with clinical and laboratory markers.  


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