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Study points to possibility of blood test to detect lung cancer
Date:12/7/2007

DURHAM, N.C. -- A test for four blood proteins may provide a less-invasive follow-up for patients who have suspicious lesions on chest radiographs or computerized tomography (CT) scans, according to a new study led by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

CT scans have a very high false positive rate when trying to discover lung cancer, said Edward Patz, Jr., M.D., a radiologist at Duke and lead investigator on the study. What that leads to is several follow-up imaging studies or invasive procedures like biopsy, which have risks of their own. This study is the first step in developing a test that would allow us to sample a patients blood and determine whether more invasive testing and treatment are necessary.

The researchers published their findings in the December 10, 2007 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study was funded by Dukes Department of Radiology.

Researchers studied four proteins in the blood and found that their levels were different in patients with lung cancer as compared to patients of the same age and gender who didnt have cancer. They compared the levels of these proteins in the blood of almost 100 patients known to have lung cancer to the levels in the blood of nearly 100 patients without cancer.

Using the four markers, known as CEA, RBP, SCC and AAT, we were able to distinguish patients who had cancer from those who didnt with over 80 percent accuracy, Patz said.

The four protein markers have all been associated with lung cancer, but none in isolation wields enough influence to definitively indicate the disease. However, in combination they may be very useful, Patz said.

The researchers created a "classification tree" to sort out a person's likelihood of having lung cancer, based on the levels of each of the four proteins. People whose samples landed in one of three bins at the bottom of the tree had a 90 percent chance of having cancer, Patz said. Other bins indicate
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Contact: Lauren Shaftel Williams
lauren.shaftel@duke.edu
919-684-4966
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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