20 Apr Lung Cancer: Free Fatty Acids as Potential Biomarkers
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Sessler: Free fatty acids, arachidonic acid and linoleic acid, and their metabolites hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (5-HETE, 11-HETE, 12-HETE, and 15-HETE) were 1.8 to 5.7-fold greater in 37 patients with adenocarcinoma versus 111 patients without cancer (all P<0.001). Areas under the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve were significantly greater than 0.50 discriminating lung cancer patients and controls for all biomarkers and phospholipids, and ranged between 0.69 and 0.82 (all P<0.001) for lung cancer patients versus controls. Arachidonic acid, linoleic acid, and 15-HETE showed sensitivity and specificity >0.70 at the best cutpoint. Concentrations of free fatty acids and their metabolites were similar in 18 squamous-cell carcinoma patients and 54 non-cancer controls.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Sessler: That free fatty acids and their metabolites are good biomarkers for lung cancer was somewhat surprising, and based on an incidental observation in a previous study. That said, there is mechanistic support for involvement of free fatty acids in cancer propagation.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Sessler: Free fatty acids and their metabolites are reasonable biomarkers for adenocarcinoma. However, their sensitivity and specificity is not sufficient for routine screening. They might, however, be helpful in very high-risk patients or in those with equivocal imaging studies. A more obvious use would be for evaluating the response to surgery, and detecting recurrences. How effective these markers are for that purpose remains to be tested though.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Sessler: The most obvious next study would be to determine how well free fatty acids and their metabolites respond to successful surgery, and their ability to detect cancer recurrences before traditional methods.