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Blood Test Could Improve Lung Cancer Diagnosis

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

Alfredo (he/him) has a PhD in Astrophysics on galaxy evolution and a Master's in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces.

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

3106 Blood Test Could Improve Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Micrograph of squamous-cell carcinoma by Nephron, via Wikimedia Commons.

A simple new blood test has been designed by the University of Nottingham to identify signatures of lung cancer in patients suspected of being sick. A hugely important factor in cancer survival rate is early diagnosis. If lung cancer is discovered in its early stages, a patient has a 70% chance to survive for over a year, and a 35% chance to survive for over five years, according to Cancer Research UK.

The test was designed by comparing the presence of certain fats (lipids) in the blood plasma. Blood plasma is the yellow liquid in which blood cells float, and contains nutrients, salts, proteins and, as mentioned, fats.

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The strength of the study is that the tests were performed in the same clinic, so with a similar population demographic. All the participants in the study were selected from patients with suspected lung cancer. After their diagnosis, the team selected 17 people with squamous cell lung carcinoma, 17 people with adenocarcinoma of the lung, and 17 healthy control individuals. The team compared the type and quantity of lipids in the plasma of these people; by having a control sample from healthy individuals which had been suspected of being sick, the team limited potential confounding factors.

The test looked at alterations in the levels of different classes of fats such as triglycerides and free fatty acids. Using this method, scientists wanted to be able to distinguish between those with or without lung cancer, and in those with lung cancer to differentiate between those with adenocarcinoma and squamous cell cancer.  

The study has identified several fat molecules that can be used as biomarkers that allow the medical researchers to distinguish between the different types of cancer and between individuals who have cancer and those who don’t.  

Lung cancer represents the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide: 1.8 million people were diagnosed with this type of cancer in 2012, representing 13% of the cancers diagnosed that year, but it accounted for 19.4% of all cancer deaths.

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The paper is published in Metabolomics.


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healthHealth and Medicine
  • tag
  • blood test,

  • lung cancer,

  • early diagnosis

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