New test devised for detecting aggressive lung cancer
25 February 2011 00:00 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
US scientists have created a new testing system that can help to identify non-smoking lung cancer patients who may be carrying a particularly aggressive form of the disease.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester have found that inexpensive and rapid immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing can be an effective method of screening for never-smoking patients whose tumours that express a protein called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK).
Those in this group have been shown in previous studies to be at more than double the risk of experiencing disease progression or recurrence compared to those with ALK-negative lung adenocarcinoma tumours.
According to study leader Dr Ping Yang, this discovery could make it easier for doctors to select the best courses of treatment for individual patients.
She added: "Because it is already performed in most pathology labs, [IHC] testing can be done on-site versus sending a sample to another diagnostic testing site."
Lung cancer is the second-most common form of the disease in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK figures, with nine out of ten cases caused by smoking.
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