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Genetic testing may identify early-stage lung cancer

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Markers in the human immune system which can indicate early-onset lung tumors in high-risk patients may lead to the development of a blood test to screen for lung cancer, new research indicates.

During a recent study, which was published in the December 1 issue of Cancer Research, scientists identified a series of genetic changes in the immune systems of lung cancer patients which was absent in patients with healthy lungs or with non-malignant lung diseases, Science Daily reports.

The 29-gene signature, discovered in blood samples from 137 individuals with non-small cell lung cancer, was 86 percent accurate in identifying patients with the disease.

According to the researchers, knowledge of this gene expression profile may assist in development of a simple blood test for lung cancer screening.

"Such a test could be especially useful for remote areas where technologies that are used in urban centers are not available," said Louise Showe, director of the genomics facility at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.

She added, "This test could be useful in a clinical setting to help decide whether a small tumor detected on an X-ray is likely to be malignant."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die from lung cancer in the U.S. than from any other type of the disease.

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