Blood test offers hope for earlier lung cancer diagnosis
2019-09-09 from cbc.ca
The Canadian Cancer Society says lung cancer is the most common types of cancer in Canada. It's also the most deadly. New research presented Monday in Barcelona at the World Conference on Lung Cancer offers hope of earlier diagnosis and a greater opportunity to cure the disease.
The test is called the EarlyCDT-Lung Test, and it's manufactured and distributed by Oncimmune. It's a blood test that measures the levels of seven antibodies that could be associated with the body's response to lung cancer. It can detect all types of lung cancer at all stages from stage I to stage IV. The test has been studied in more than 25 peer-reviewed clinical publications and has been tested on more than 120,000 tissue samples from patients.
A negative EarlyCDT-Lung Test means doctors are 90 per cent certain you don't have lung cancer. CT scans are more sensitive at correctly spotting disease but less specific than the blood test at correctly identifying those without disease. The hope is that the blood test used in combination with a CT scan of the chest can enable doctors to detect lung cancer at a much earlier stage when it's more likely to be cured.
Dr. Frank Sullivan and colleagues from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland wanted to see if the EarlyCDT-Lung Test followed by X-ray and CT scans could identify patients at high risk of lung cancer and thus increase early detection.
Scotland has one of the highest rates of lung cancer in the world. The researchers recruited about 12,000 participants aged 50 to 75 years at high risk of developing the disease. Half got EarlyCDT-Lung Testing followed by a chest X-rays and a chest CT scan if they tested positive and every six months for up to two years, and half got standard care.
The researchers found 127 lung cancers (56 in the intervention group and 71 in the control arm). Of the cancers detected in the intervention group, significantly more of them were detected at an earlier stage when they were more likely to be curable.
The study is important because lung cancer is both common and deadly.That's true even though rates of smoking have been trending down.
It may be surprising to some, but non-smokers can get lung cancer. In the U.S, as many as one in five who die from lung cancer have never smoked or used tobacco. If lung cancer in non-smokers had its own separate category, it would rank among the top 10 most lethal cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.
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