SOLACE is a pioneering EU4Health project launched in April 2023 under the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. It will facilitate the implementation of lung cancer screening programs across Europe. In this project, Prof. Hans-Ulrich Kauczor leads the scientific team from the university hospital Heidelberg.
In EU Member States, lung cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among men and the third most diagnosed cancer among women. It is also the leading cause of cancer death of both sexes. Low dose computed tomography (LDCT) has been shown in several randomized trials to detect lung cancer at early stages and significantly reduce mortality. In 2013, the US began screening for LDCTs, but several adjustments were needed to overcome nationwide implementation challenges, such as recruitment difficulties. Due to the heterogeneous landscape of lung cancer care in Europe, screening criteria and conditions from the highly scientific lung cancer screening trials are not 1:1 transferrable to the real-world conditions in 27 different countries of the European Union. Backed by the expertise and network of all relevant European societies and stakeholders, SOLACE will assess the current state of art, needs and best practice of Lung Cancer Screening (LCS) in EU member states and produce a comprehensive guideline and implementation package covering all steps of the lung cancer screening pathway: evidence-based guidelines, technical papers, SOPs, documents regarding quality assurance, methodology, benefit-harm balance, cost-effectiveness. This package will showcase de novo implementation Furthermore, SOLACE will plan, design and launch three pilot projects in ten-member states with over 12000 participants to address key issues to increase participation: gender, inequalities regarding hard-to-reach populations (social, ethnic, geographical) and individuals at risk, quality assurance, cost-effectiveness analysis with dedicated models for different healthcare systems, harms (radiation exposure, overdiagnosis, complications). To facilitate sustained implementation in all member states, SOLACE will establish a long-term interdisciplinary platform called the European Lung Cancer Screening Alliance (ELCSA).