Their findings could eventually help physicians decide whether an individual patient with lung cancer can benefit from standard treatment or may need more aggressive therapy. The study is published in the open-access journal Scientific Reports.
The US Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends that middle-age and older persons with a history of heavy smoking be screened annually for lung cancer with low-dose CT. Low-dose CT is effective at detecting small lung tumors, but the cost of CT screening and risks of repeated radiation exposure prevent its use for screening of the general population. This points to a need for a low cost, minimally invasive method for identifying people who may require further CT screening to catch the disease at earlier, more readily treatable stages, says co-principal investigator Leo L. Cheng, PhD, an associate biophysicist in the departments of Pathology and Radiology at MGH.
CT - Screening - Tool - Patient - Patient
"You cannot use CT as a screening tool for every patient or even for every at-risk patient every year, so what we're trying to do is to develop biomarkers from blood samples that could be incorporated into physical exams, and if there is any suspicion of lung cancer, then we would put the patient through CT," Cheng says.
Along with co-principal investigator David C. Christiani, MD, MPH, a physician in the Department of Medicine at MGH, Cheng and other colleagues studied paired blood samples and tumor tissues taken at the time of surgery and looked for unique metabolomic markers using high-resolution magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), a sensitive technique for characterizing the chemical composition of tissues.
Cheng - Research - Groups - MRS - Biomarkers
Cheng says that although other research groups have used MRS to identify potential biomarkers of lung cancer in serum, "the uniqueness of our study...
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