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New research confirms need for lung cancer testing
Date:2/2/2012

AURORA, Colo. (Feb. 2, 2012) Different kinds of lung cancer behave in different ways, suggesting they are fundamentally different diseases. According to a University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in Cancer, the official journal of the American Cancer Society, different subgroups of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) show distinct patterns of spread in the body.

The study looked at 209 patients diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer separated into four different molecular subgroups using testing performed by the University of Colorado Molecular Correlates Laboratory (CMOCO): those with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutations, anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase (ALK) gene rearrangements or a group without any of these abnormalities.

ALK positive lung cancer was strongly associated with cancers that spread to the linings around the heart and lungs (pericardial and pleural disease). Patients with ALK positive NSCLC were also predisposed to develop liver metastases as were those with an EGFR mutation when the different subgroups were compared.

"In the last few years we have been able to separate lung cancer into different molecular subtypes to help improve outcomes from specific targeted therapies. This study really confirms that these molecular subtypes are manifesting as different diseases in patients," said Robert Doebele, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and CU Cancer Center investigator.

Another University of Colorado study published in the same edition of Cancer drills down on how some of these different molecular subtypes of lung cancer are detected in the first place. Specifically, the study examined the companion diagnostic test for detecting the ALK positive lung cancer cases, called a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test. This test is used to select patients for treatment with crizoti
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Contact: Erika Matich
erika.matich@ucdenver.edu
303-524-2780
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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