Health Discoveries in Lung Cancer

Blood test could verify lung cancer diagnosis for non-smokers

April 5, 2011
A blood test could help verify a diagnosis when lung cancer is suspected in people who have never smoked, new research shows.

Charles Birse, principal scientist at the Celera Corporation, presented findings Monday at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting that showed a serum-based lung cancer test developed from biomarkers was as accurate in helping to diagnose cancer in non-smokers as it was in smokers.

While he agreed that CT scanning is a more accurate way of detecting lung cancer, Birse said biomarkers can be used to add to the certainty of a diagnosis. "Whether it is done before or after the CT scan, evaluation of these biomarkers may be a rapid noninvasive method to confirm malignant status," Birse said.

Using biomarkers to test blood samples on 80 study participants – half of whom had lung cancer – the biomarkers detected cancer correctly in 83 percent of the tests, the researchers found.

A clinical trial in the North Shore-LIJ Health System is trying to determine if adding the new drug bevacizumab to chemotherapy decreases the chance of a cancer recurrence for patients who have had surgery to remove lung cancer.
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