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New Blood Test Screens For Lung Cancer Before X-rays can Detect it - Non-Small Cell Most Common Diagnosed Lung Cancer 

July 16th 2006

New Blood Test Screens For Lung Cancer Before X-rays can Detect it - Non-Small Cell Most Common Diagnosed Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

A new blood test can detect non-small cell lung cancer long before it can be detected by an X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scans.  When tested on people being treated for lung cancer, they have been successful in positively identifying 90 percent of cases.  There have been very few false positive cases when samples were taken from people who did not have cancer.

Early detection of non-small cell lung cancer is important because the average five-year survival rate of only 40 per cent.  Early detection may save lives. This is the first new cancer blood screening test since the development of the prostate cancer PSA screening test. 


The test works by identifying the bodies own immune response to the cancer. This can take place long before the tumor is large enough to be detected by CT or X-ray.  The authors wrote “Based on doubling times, a lung cancer can be present three to five years before reaching the conventional size limits of radiographic detection."

The researchers tested samples of blood taken years before the diagnosis.  They found that their test positively identified the cancer in four out of seven samples taken a year before diagnoses, and in all 18 samples taken two, three and four years earlier, according to


Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer.  Worldwide, it is estimated that 10 million people per year are diagnosed with it, and half of those die within the first year of diagnosis.  Lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer, and by the time patients are diagnosed it is usually too late to save them.

The authors wrote “These data suggest antibody profiling could be a powerful tool for early detection when incorporated into a comprehensive screening strategy”.  The test has been licensed to the US company 20/20 GeneSystems, and the research appears in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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