Protein-cased biomarker blood test improves assessment of lung cancer risk in smokers

Written by Sarah Jones, Future Science Group

Lung cancer risk assessment could be improved over existing guidelines by a four-protein biomarker blood test, an international research team has reported in JAMA Oncology. So far, the test has been effective in capturing risks in individuals who would not be described as heavy smokers, and for those who may not have been a smoker for a long time. 

“This simple blood test demonstrates the potential of biomarker-based risk assessment to improve eligibility criteria for lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography,” explained author Sam Hanash, Professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX, US).

Sensitivity, or the identification of smokers who later developed lung cancer, was improved by the biomarker panel without any increase in false-positives in comparison to guidelines for heavy smokers based on age and smoking history approved by the US Preventive Service Task Force. These guidelines recommend CT screening only in those between the ages of 55 and 80 who have a 30 pack per year smoking history, and who are either still smoking or have quit in the previous 15 years.

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Sources: Integrative Analysis of Lung Cancer Etiology and Risk (INTEGRAL) Consortium for Early Detection of Lung Cancer. Assessment of Lung Cancer Risk on the Basis of a Biomarker Panel of Circulating ProteinsJAMA Oncol. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2078 (2018) (Epub ahead of print);