-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A protein that can be
detected using a noninvasive blood test might one day help aid in
the early diagnosis of lung cancer, preliminary research
A study conducted by researchers in China found that people with
lung cancer have high levels of the so-called "biomarker,"
isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1). The investigators pointed out that
lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and
women in the United States and around the world, and diagnosing the
disease sooner could help reduce its high mortality rate.
"This study is the first to report identification of IDH1 as a novel biomarker for the diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancers using a large number of clinical samples," Dr. Jie He, director of the laboratory of thoracic surgery at the Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research.
"Lung cancer has a high mortality rate, mostly because of late diagnosis. With an increase in aging population, we are likely to see an increase in lung cancer incidence and a need for better biomarkers for early diagnosis. We have identified IDH1 as an effective plasma [blood] biomarker with high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of [non-small cell lung cancer]," He continued, especially the type known as lung adenocarcinoma.
The study, published in the current issue of the journal
Clinical Cancer Research, involved blood samples collected
from 943 patients with non-small cell lung cancers and 479 people
who did not have lung cancer (the "control" group). None of the
patients was diagnosed or treated for cancer in the three years
before the study began.
The study found that the median IDH1 levels in patients with
lung adenocarcinoma were 2.7 times higher than the healthy
participants. The levels of this protein were also 2.2 times higher
in those with squamous cell carcinoma, compared to the control
He's team noted that IDH1 can be detected in the blood of lung
cancer patients with 76 percent sensitivity and 77 percent
specificity. That means 24 percent of the tests would miss lung
cancer, and 23 percent would diagnose lung cancer when it wasn't
there. The researchers noted that when combined with current
markers used to diagnose lung cancer, the sensitivity increased to
"Based on the present data, IDH1 can be used to detect stage 1 lung cancer; however, it is also possible that IDH1 could be used to detect precancer but further studies are required to address that possibility," added He.
"Our research also suggests IDH1 may be involved in the development of lung cancer, and it may be a good target for the treatment of [non-small cell lung cancer]," said He. The research team is currently studying what causes the increase of IDH1 in lung cancer patients and what the findings mean for patients.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
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