In 2009, 219,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer

Only smokers get lung cancer

Lung Cancer kills more people than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in non smokers

Lung cancer is an “old man’s disease.

The five year survival rate is approximately 15%

I stopped smoking 30 years ago, so my risk for lung cancer is the same as someone who never smoked.

Lung cancer research is significantly underfunded.

Lung cancer is not treatable

Every hour approximately 19 people will die from lung cancer.

Blood Test Shows Promise for Early Lung Cancer Detection

By Peggy Peck, Executive Editor, MedPage Today Published: June 04, 2008

The RNA-fingerprint analysis identified a group of patients who developed lung cancer during two years of follow-up with 86% sensitivity and specificity, Thomas Zander, M.D., of the University of Cologne in Germany, told attendees at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

The results could form the basis for a blood test capable of identifying lung cancer perhaps years before the disease becomes clinically manifest.

“We are convinced that this test warrants further investigation in prospective studies,” Dr. Zander said at a press briefing.

Evaluation of the blood test began with the generation of a lung cancer-associated RNA fingerprint from peripheral blood samples of 13 smokers with lung cancer and 11 controls. The fingerprint was validated in an additional 22 smokers with lung cancer and 15 controls.

Dr. Zander and colleagues then examined records on 25,000 participants in the Prospective Investigation on Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) trial and identified 12 smokers who had developed lung cancer within two years of enrolling in EPIC.

Using archived specimens, the researchers applied the RNA fingerprint to the cancer patients and to a matched control group without cancer.

The test identified the lung cancer patients with 88% accuracy (P0.0001).

The investigators then evaluated the test in blood samples collected before the cancer became clinically manifest. Dr. Zander and colleagues predicted impending development of lung cancer with 80% accuracy (P0.05).

Although preliminary, the findings are very promising, said Julie Gralow, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, who moderated a press briefing at which the results were presented.

“We know early detection of many cancers has been shown to lead to better outcomes, including fewer relapses and less death and also less need for aggressive treatment,” said Dr. Gralow. “This is a very promising lead that may lead to early detection of lung cancer.”

  • Note that the test is investigational and not yet available.
  • Note that this study was published as an abstract and presented orally at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.