Genetic Test Identifies Small but Deadly Lung Cancers
16 Feb 2013
A novel genetic test can help identify small but aggressive lung tumors associated with poor survival.
The test can identify highly aggressive lung cancer at a very early stage and the results may help physicians decide on which chemotherapy treatment is suitable for patients with aggressive tumors.
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF; CA, USA) working with colleagues from California and China, conducted an international validation study of the newly available genetic test in small tumors likely to be detected by the new lung cancer computed tomography (CT) screening guidelines. They studied 269 patients who underwent lung surgery to remove aggressive, non-small-cell lung tumors that were smaller than 2 cm in size. Aggressive tumors usually form, grow, and spread quickly, but theses tumors had not yet spread to the lymph nodes.
The investigators found overall postsurgical survival rates of 83%, 69%, and 52% in low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups, respectively. Similar results were found in analyzing tumors sized 1 cm or smaller. Early detection of lung tumors through low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening, combined with a reliable test that can identify highly aggressive tumors that benefit from individualized treatments, will help decrease the mortality rate from lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of men and women in the USA, according to the American Cancer Society (Atlanta, GA, USA).
Johannes Kratz, MD, from the UCSF said, "We have known for a number of years that patients with aggressive early stage lung cancers identified by molecular prognostic tests benefit from additional therapy. Imagine receiving the news from your doctor that despite undergoing surgery for your tiny one-centimeter lung cancer, you still have a 25% chance of dying in the next five years. Now, instead of telling these patients we have nothing more for them, we can offer this test which reliably identifies whether they have highly aggressive tumors." He added, "This new genetic test is immediately available to clinicians via a CLIA-approved testing laboratory, and it''s a tool that patients can ask their physicians about today, not sometime in the future." The study was presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons held January 26 to January 30, 2013 in Los Angeles (CA, USA).