09 Mar Blood Biomarker May Detect Early Stage Lung Cancer
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Dr. Andreas Keller
Stanford University School of Medicine Office
Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Chair for Clinical Bioinformatics
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Lung cancer is among the three most common cancers and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patients’ outcomes. To detect lung tumors, liquid biopsy-based strategies are increasingly explored, that are biomarkers, which are identifiable in body fluids such as human blood. The clinical application of biomarkers is, however, largely hampered by the relatively small numbers of cases that have been analyzed in the majority of the preclinical studies including the studies on lung cancer.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: By genome-wide microRNA profiling of blood samples from over 3,000 individuals assembled in a retrospective set-up, we identified microRNA signatures that allow to distinguish lung cancer patients with an accuracy of over 90 % even when compared to patients diagnosed with non-tumorous lung diseases. Especially encouraging was the finding that a separation with an accuracy of over 95% was possible between patients with lung cancer at low stages and non-lung-cancer individuals. Notably, patients with lung cancer at a low stage i.e. stage I show a 5-year-survival rate of up to 56% whereas patients with advanced lung cancer i.e. stage IV show a 5-year-survival rate of only 4.7%.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The analysis of this large cohort sizes shows that it seems possible to identify blood-born marker signatures for symptomatic patients with lung cancer. Importantly, early cancer stages can be distinguished from other patients and controls.
The identification of a microRNA signature for patients diagnosed with low lung cancer stages represent a highly promising step towards early detection of lung cancer by a minimally-invasive test that can complement imaging tests, sputum cytology and biopsies and can thereby contribute to a more efficient intervention of this deadly cancer type.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Towards a clinical application of this test, several challenges need to be overcome including extension of cohort sizes of patients with specific diseases, a test format that is readily applicable in clinical in-vitro diagnostic like a so-called PCR-test and an evaluation to what extend the miRNA signatures can complement imaging tests and biopsies among others. The general limitations of retrospective studies also call for a final prospective validation for such analyses.
Fehlmann T, Kahraman M, Ludwig N, et al. Evaluating the Use of Circulating MicroRNA Profiles for Lung Cancer Detection in Symptomatic Patients. JAMA Oncol. Published online March 05, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0001
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Last Updated on March 9, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD