Bioanalysis Zone

Scientists make progress towards a diagnostic test for early stage lung cancer

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A study led by scientists at the Cleveland Clinic (TX, USA) has found that patients with stage I– III non-small cell lung cancer have different metabolite profiles in their blood compared with those of patients who are at risk of developing lung cancer, but do not have the disease.

According to the WHO, lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Surgical removal of the tumor at an early stage can be curative; however, lung cancer diagnosis at an early stage remains challenging. As such, the identification of diagnostic biomarkers for lung cancer is imperative.

The team tested the serum of 284 patients, 94 of which had biopsy confirmed untreated stage I–III non-small cell cancer. The remaining patients were a control group who did not have the disease, but matched the cancer patients in age, gender, smoking history, COPD, diabetes and blood lipids. Analysis of the 534 metabolites identified by the group indicated that the concentration of 149 metabolites differed significantly between the cancer and control groups, with the team specifically noting reductions in phenolic compounds, elevated transulfuration pathway activity and elevations of fatty acids.

“Our study results showed that patients with lung cancer have altered metabolic processes,” said Peter J. Mazzone, Director of the Lung Cancer Program for the Respiratory Institute at Cleveland Clinic and leader of the study. “This information could lead to the development of a diagnostic biomarker for early detection of lung cancer.”

Sources: Blood biomarker may detect lung cancer, study presented at CHEST 2014; Peter Mazzone, MPH, Xiaofeng Wang, Mary Beukeman et al. The analysis of small molecule metabolite profiles in the blood as a biomarker of lung cancer. Program and Abstracts of CHEST 2014. Austin, TX, USA, 25-30 October 2014 (Abstract 587A).

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