But the breakthrough also poses serious medical management dilemmas due to the potential cost of screening millions of smokers and the possible harm of accumulated radiation exposure and false positives from imaging which may, in turn, spur more invasive procedures such as lung biopsies for ultimately non-cancerous lesions. Without better patient targeting, CT screening of smokers or ex-smokers aged 50 and over only picks up cancers in only 1 to 2 percent of those scanned.
"Using Respiragene to prioritize current and former smokers for CT scanning would significantly improve the number of early stage lung cancer cases found per scans administered," said Dr. Young.
About the Research
Researchers used the Respiragene test on 1,216 confirmed lung cancer cases in cohorts gathered in New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. The test incorporates 20 genetic markers associated with smoking-related lung damage and propensity to lung cancer, along with a smoker's age, family history, and diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to derive a predictive risk score on a 1-12 scale whereby higher scores correlate with higher lifetime risk of developing lung cancer, compared to other smokers.
In the group analysis, current or former smokers with a Respiragene score of 6 or higher, representing 20 percent of the group, identified more than 50 percent of those with lung cancer. With the test featuring a specificity level over 80 percent (i.e. a false positive rate of only 20 percent), this sub-group is at very high risk of getting lung cancer and would likely gain the most benefit from closer surveillance and active screening, including regular CT scans. By increasing the pick-up rate of lung cancer per number of persons scanned, the cost-effectiveness of CT screening can be substantially impr
|Contact: Ken Li|