COLUMBUS, Ohio Researchers have identified characteristic patterns of molecules called microRNA (miRNA) in the blood of people with lung cancer that might reveal both the presence and aggressiveness of the disease, and perhaps who is at risk of developing it. These patterns may be detectable up to two years before the tumor is found by computed tomography (CT) scans.
The findings could lead to a blood test for lung cancer, according to a researcher with the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute who helped lead study.
"We found patterns of abnormal microRNAs in the plasma of people with lung cancer and showed that it might be possible to use these patterns to detect lung cancer in a blood sample," says principal investigator Dr. Carlo M. Croce, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, and director of the Human Cancer Genetics program.
"These abnormal microRNAs were present in blood serum well before the tumors were detected by a sensitive method such as spiral CT scan, suggesting they might have strong predictive, diagnostic and prognostic potential."
The findings were published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Croce and his collaborators initially identified the molecular patterns in tissue samples collected from patients participating in a clinical trial examining the use of spiral CT scans to screen for lung cancer. The trial involved 1,035 individuals aged 50 years or older who had smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years or more. All patients underwent a CT scan every year for five years and provided blood, sputum and urine samples.
The researchers initially analyzed 28 tumor samples and 24 samples of normal-lung tissue for their miRNA profiles. They identified miRNAs that could discriminate between lung tumor and normal lung tissue. They also found patter
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Ohio State University Medical Center