Future Prospects for Diagnosing Lung Cancer With Blood Tests

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In an effort to let lung cancer patients avoid invasive diagnostic procedures such as biopsies or cancer producing high radiation procedures such as CT scanning and to develop a more accurate diagnostic procedure researchers are investigating blood tests. In a study presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer Dr Steve Dubinett and colleagues at the Lung Cancer Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles developed a 40-marker panel of potential lung cancer biomarkers based upon investigation of 90 patients with lung cancer and 56 controls believed to be at high risk because of smoking histories. These biomarkers correctly identified those with lung cancer 88% of the time and correctly identified those without lung cancer 79% of the time. Thus, the tests had a good sensitivity and specificity (ability of the test to correctly identify those who had the disease when they had it and to correctly identify those who did not have the disease when they did not have it). Although the researchers said the findings are preliminary and would not be available for several years, the fact that 21 of the 40 biomarker panel were significantly different between patients with stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer and the controls is promising.

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