Researcher opens path to blood test for early lung cancer detection

The earlier lung cancer is detected the higher the chances of less-invasive treatments and survival. But while this is an easy thing to say, there is no approved lung cancer screening test proven to detect lung cancer before it spreads. Now, a researcher in Seattle thinks he's found a way to develop a simple blood test to detect early-stage lung cancer. It's all about protein signatures that hold the promise not only of early detection, but also better tracking of tumor progression.

"In our study, we applied a comparative strategy of genetically engineered mouse models of cancer and integrated data at the genome and protein levels to uncover lung cancer signatures in blood samples that reflect different types of lung cancer, or that reflect signaling pathways driving tumor development," Samir M. Hanash, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said in a release announcing publication in the journal Cancer Cell.

The researchers found protein signatures and networks that gave them a peak into the genes that drive lung cancer tumors. Hanash says they were able to replicate the findings in mice by testing blood samples from humans with lung cancer. "These findings point to the power of integrating multiple types of studies and data to uncover lung cancer markers and may lead to early detection strategies for humans as well as strategies for monitoring tumor status in patients with the disease," Hanash said.

- read the release from Cell Press
- and the abstract in the journal Cancer Cell