Archive for October 29th, 2013

October 29, 2013

A Blood Test for Lung Cancer

We’re fans of whole-body health and that means all the parts… but we’ve been keen on lungs lately. Who needs a good reason? We all enjoy breathing.

Biopsie Lunge Computertomographie BC by Hellerhoff (via Wikimedia Commons) Copyright  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

We’ve talked about the power of CT for lung cancer diagnosis (here and here) and even covered the topic of smoking-related breast cancer risk over on our mammography blog (here). Today we’d like to talk about more good news in the world of lung health: a potential alternative to current management of lung nodules found on a CT scan. Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer death in the US – for men and women.

While the research (and technology) is still in the early phases, it looks like a promising future in the search (and hopefully destroy) mission for early detection of lung cancer. In a study published on October 16th in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a new blood test was unveiled that can aid in finding lung cancer in a minimally invasive manner. The article is a heady read, so we’re going to break it down for you:

If a patient has a lung nodule, the current next step is often a biopsy, possibly with surgery or imaging guided. This new blood test screens for a select set of proteins that can help determine if the nodules are benign or cancerous.  So, a normal blood test could potentially save a person from undergoing a biopsy or alternatively might lead doctors to surgery at an early treatable stage.

Working in a scientific field, we know that further studies must confirm the initial positive results before anyone can shout this as a revolution. But we are thrilled and optimistic that there’s progress being made in early detection of lung cancer – because early detection saves lives.

Additional reading here.