Because of a new blood test, doctors are one step closer to easily detecting early-stage lung cancer. The test could ultimately lead to faster, more effective lung cancer detection worldwide.
In recent years, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has recommended regular CT scans for people at high risk of developing lung cancer. Early analysis indicates that these new blood tests could be a more effective way of detecting early-stage lung cancer among these individuals.
Details of the Blood Test
French researchers from World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer developed the blood test. The test determines a person’s chance of developing lung cancer by looking at four specific protein biomarkers in the blood. Sixty-three percent of future lung cancer patients can be detected by this simple test.
Earlier in the summer, a study from the American Society of Clinical Oncology presented similar findings in blood tests designed to detect early-stage lung cancer. Researchers reported that almost half of early-stage lung cancers could be identified through the blood test. The tests are sometimes referred to as “liquid biopsies.”
Who This Benefits
Ultimately, the test will be helpful for identifying who would most benefit from further lung cancer screening. It is especially useful for those at higher risk for lung cancer, such as smokers, former smokers and people with long-term exposure to respiratory contaminates.
Blood could easily be drawn at a doctor’s office, making it a convenient and cost-effective way to detect early-stage lung cancer. Doctors would have results within 72 hours, compared to a week for patients who are screened through a CT scan. It could also potentially lessen the occurrence of false positive results.
More data needs to be collected before the blood tests are widely used, but current results are promising.
It is already possible to detect late-stage lung cancer through blood tests, allowing doctors to assess genetic characteristics and formulate targeted treatment options.
The data from recent studies show that finding early-stage lung cancer through blood testing is a feasible possibility in the near future.