17 July 2006

New Test Detects Early Lung Cancer

A blood test that looks for the body's own immune response to tumors may provide an easy way to find lung cancer in patients long before an X-ray or CT scan could, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

The test correctly predicted non-small-cell lung cancer in blood samples taken from patients years before they were actually diagnosed with lung cancer, the researchers reported.

If the test's reliability can be confirmed, it might become the first new blood screen for any cancer since the prostate specific antigen or PSA test. The test is licensed to privately held Rockville, Maryland-based 20/20 GeneSystems Inc.

[Reuters, 14 July 2006]

Lung cancer is the world's number 1 cancer killer. In the Philippines, it is the leading cancer site for males and the third leading cancer site for females (PCS data). It kills thousands of Filipinos annually.

Smoking remains the single most preventable risk factor associated with lung cancer. Some smokers try to quit but eventually slide back and smoke again. It's an addiction, as they say. Most hardcore smokers don't even bother to quit. The new test above might be good news for them. It can tell them when they have lung cancer already, long before an X-ray or CT Scan can, where many false positives occur.

3 reactions:

bayibhyap said...

There is an increasing number of lung cancer patients who are non-smokers. Perhaps they inhale second hand smoke or there could be other causes. But this new method of detection will certainly be welcome news.

rolly said...

Does this mean lung cancer can be detected before it is well on its way, ergo, can be stopped? Is the procedure here yet? Will it be SOP like FBS is for diabetics?

Dr. Emer said...

Oh yes, second-hand smoke kills a lot of people too, Bayi.

That's exactly what the post and study say, Tito Rolly. Stopping lung cancer? Well, the usual story is a late diagnosis and every treatment becomes palliative afterwards. It is still too early to tell if this test will become routine or not.