Autoantibodies May Lead to Early Lung Cancer Detection

Blood test could measure response to tumor-associated antigens

MONDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Lung cancer could be detected earlier and treated more effectively as a result if a blood test to measure autoantibody response to one or more tumor-associated antigens were developed, according to a study published online in Thorax.

Caroline J. Chapman, of Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, U.K., and colleagues analyzed plasma gathered from 50 normal controls, 82 patients with non-small cell lung cancer and 22 with small-cell lung cancer to look for the presence of autoantibodies to seven antigens associated with tumors.

Among the patients with lung cancer, 76 percent showed raised autoantibody levels to at least one of the seven antigens. Elevated levels were detected in 89 percent of node-negative patients with 92 percent specificity.

"A diagnostic test for lung cancer is of particular importance owing to the late stage at which patients currently present with this disease and the fact that this disease will cause significant social burden for at least 20 years, even if all smoking were discontinued today," the authors wrote. "A blood test, such as that described here, is non-invasive, cost effective relative to imaging tests, carries no side effects and is acceptable to the vast majority of patients."

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