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New lung cancer study takes page from Google's playbook
Date:3/25/2013

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The study applied the advanced math model to data from human autopsy reports of 163 lung cancer patients in the New England area, from 1914 to 1943. This time period was targeted because it predates the use of radiation and chemotherapy, providing researchers a clear view of how cancer progresses if left untreated. Among the 163 patients, researchers charted the advancement patterns of 619 different metastases to 27 distinct body sites.

The study's findings could potentially impact clinical care by helping guide physicians to targeted treatment options, designed to curtail the spread of lung cancer. For example, if the cancer is found to have moved to a known spreader location, imaging tests and interventions can be quickly considered for focused treatment before the cells may be more widely dispersed. Further study is needed in this area.

Keeping tabs on cancer's movement in the body is vital to patient care. While a primary cancer tumor (confined to a single location) is often not fatal, a patient's prognosis can worsen if the cancer metastasizes that is, flakes off and travels to other parts of the body to form new tumors.

The study is part of a relatively new movement to involve physical sciences in oncology research. Mathematics probability models that interpret data from specific patient populations offer a new alternative to the established approach of relying on broader clinical trends to predict where, and how fast, cancer will spread.


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Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-740-9226
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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