Claudia Henschke

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Claudia Henschke

Dr. Claudia Ingrid Henschke is a professor of radiology and Chief of the Chest Imaging Division of the Weill-Cornell Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Henschke is a pioneer in the use of computerized tomography (CT) screening of smokers for lung cancer. Dr. Henschke advocates widespread use of CT screening of smokers and former smokers to detect and treat cancer in the early stages, while it is still treatable.[1]

Lung cancer Study

Dr. Hensckhe was lead author of an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine[2]about the largest clinical trial of lung-cancer computed tomography (CT) screening ever conducted. The study involved screening over 31,000 asymptomatic persons at risk for lung cancer using low-dose CT from 1993 through 2005. From 1994 through 2005, 27,456 repeated screenings were performed 7 to 18 months after the first screening. The screenings resulted in lung cancer being diagnosed in 484 participants. 412 of these participants had Stage I cancer. Of these patients, 302 underwent surgical resection of cancerous portions of their lungs within 1 month after their diagnosis. The survival rate was 92%. Henschke and her colleagues concluded that annual spiral CT screening can detect lung cancer that is curable.

Conflict of interest accusations

Around 2000, Dr. Henschke set up a charitable research foundation called the Foundation for Lung Cancer: Early Detection, Prevention & Treatment. An article in the March 26, 2008 edition of the New York Times stated that "the Foundation for Lung Cancer was underwritten "almost entirely" by $3.6 million in grants from the Vector Group, parent company of cigarette maker Liggett, which manufactures Liggett Select, Eve, Grand Prix, Quest and Pyramid cigarette brands. The Times also reported that Henschke's Foundation for Lung Cancer received four grants from the Vector Group, from 2000 to 2003.

Henschke's report about the massive CT screening study was published in the October 26, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, but failed to disclose cigarette company funding for the study, instead saying the study was funded by the Foundation for Lung Cancer: Early Detection, Prevention and Treatment. The New England Journal of Medicine was unaware of the Henschke's involvement with the cigarette maker or the company's funding of the study.

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, called the funding from Liggett "blood money." [3]

As a result of the Henschke controversy, the New England Journal of Medicine announced in January 2009 that it would change its disclosure policy. The journal said it now ask authors to disclose all patents or royalties related to their research, and said it will publish this information along with the studies.[4]

Controversy over Patents and Royalties

In 2008 Paul Goldberg at The Cancer Letter reported that Dr. Henschke and her longtime collaborator, David Yankelevitz, held numerous patents and pending patents focusing on the steps of CT screening, and that they were also receiving royalties from General Electric, a manufacturer of CT scanners, when their patented software was used. Dr. Henschke had not disclosed any of these holdings or the royalty arrangement to any of the medical journals in which her work had been published. Subsequent to this story's publication, CME credit was withdrawn from one of Henshcke's articles, and many of the medical journals in which Dr. Henschke's work had appeared published corrections listing these relationships, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Lancet.

Data "Clarification"

In 2008 Dr. Henschke published two letters that "clarified" that study subjects that had been originally described as having early lung cancer, found through screening, and untreated, did not necessarily have early lung cancer. This clarification affected 5 of the 8 original subjects described, and all 5 of the additional subjects that had been described in a subsequent publication. These subjects, though few in number, constitute the ELCAP study's comparison group. As they had originally been described as dying within five years without treatment, their poor outcome provided evidence that the good outcome experienced by those who had lung cancer detected early and received treatment suggested that screening would be beneficial. Their clarification that these subjects did not have early lung cancer made their outcomes of uncertain relevance.[5][6]

Human Subjects Violations

[citation needed]

In April 2011 the New York Times reported that Henschke's seminal I-ELCAP study had not captured informed consent from most of the participants, basing their story on confidential documents obtained from Henschke's hospital. The review also reported that outside investigators during the site visit suggested the study should be stopped, but it was not. The journal CANCER issued an expression of concern regarding these violations. An investigation by the Office of Human Research Protections was stopped when the office determined that the study had not been supported by federal funds.

Contact Details

Dr. Claudia Ingrid Henschke, New York Presbyterian Hospital–Weill Cornell Medical College
525 E. 68th St.
New York, NY 10065
Phone: (212) 746-2529
Fax: (212) 746-2811
Email: (Replace the word "AT" with an "@" sign)

Articles and Resources


  1. New York Presbyterian Hospital New York Weill Cornell To Lead Statewide Consortium in Early CT Screening for Lung Cancer Press release. September 1, 2000
  2. Henschke CI, et al, New England Journal of Medicine Survival of Patients with Stage I Lung Cancer Detected on CT Screening Volume 355:1763-1771, Number 17; October 26, 2006
  3. G. Harris G, "Cigarette Company Paid for Lung Cancer Study", New York Times, Page A1, March 26, 2008.
  4. Gardiner Harris, New York Times Medical Journal Changes Its Policy After Criticism by Group January 8, 2009
  5. Claudia Henschke Clarifying Enrollment Procedures in the Trial of CT Screening for Lung Cancer - Correction to The International Early Lung Cancer Action Program Investigators, New England Journal of Medicine, 355(17):1763-1771 October 26, 2006, Correspondence, August 21, 2008. Volume 359:871-873. Number 8
  6. Claudia Henschke, David F. Yankelevitz In Reply The Oncologist. 2008;13:610–612

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