New Research- A study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research-International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (AACR-IASLC) joint conference in January 2010 regarding the use of a blood test to diagnose lung cancer.
Dr. Steven Dubinett, Professor of Medicine and Pathology and Director of the Lung Cancer Research Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, presented research on the use of a blood test to detect lung cancer. Using a panel of 40 biomarkers, protein substances measurable in the blood and thought related to lung cancer development or progression, the testing was accurate in detecting the presence of lung cancer (scientifically termed sensitivity) 88% of the time. The testing had a 79% specificity, or ability to correctly identify those without lung cancer. The testing was also sensitive enough to be able to detect lung cancer at early stages.
Reducing the requirement for invasive testing, such as lung biopsy, is very useful, especially if the blood testing permits diagnosis at an earlier stage, when biopsying is more difficult and treatment is potentially more beneficial.
Further testing and clinical trials will be necessary, but the current research results are promising. If this methodology holds up, look for clinical availability in 3-5 years.