Protein C4d linked to higher mortality rates in lung cancer patients

Carlos Camps--Courtesy of

Researchers on the lookout for ways to help detect one of the world's deadliest cancers may have a new biomarker on their hands. In lung cancer patients, scientists have linked the presence in tumors of the protein C4d to a higher cancer mortality rate, a new study says.

To identify the biomarker, researchers analyzed samples from more than 300 lung cancer patients and 400 disease-free patients. According to the research, led by professor Carlos Camps of Spain's University of Valencia, levels of C4d also decreased in patients after cancer was surgically removed. Results of the study appear in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

C4d "may be a biomarker for early detection and treatment of lung cancer because it would diagnose those people at increased risk for this disease, but no symptoms," study co-author Eloisa Jantus-Lewintre, a researcher at the University General Hospital of Valencia Research Foundation, said in a statement. Lung cancer kills more patients than any other cancer worldwide, and with metastasis occurring in about 75% of cases, catching the disease early enough for treatment is key.

For that reason, Camps' line of research centers on identifying new biomarkers to spot lung cancer in its beginning stages, focusing specifically on those that regulate tumor immunology and the generation of new blood vessels in tumors. He joins many of his research peers looking to biomarkers to aid early lung-cancer detection; scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, for one, are working on a test they believe will be able to sense a chemical biomarker for the cancer in patients' breath.

- read the release

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