Novel Technique Can Detect Abnormal Cells in Lung Cancer

FISH-based assay identifies circulating genetically abnormal cells in NSCLC patients

THURSDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- A new technique can identify circulating genetically abnormal cells (CACs) in the bloodstreams of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a study published online July 22 in Clinical Cancer Research.

Ruth L. Katz, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues studied 59 patients with NSCLC (stage I through IV) and 24 healthy controls. The researchers used a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-based assay of isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells using DNA probes to target specific chromosome sites that often have abnormalities in subjects with NSCLC. The CACs in peripheral blood and tumor cells were quantified using an automated fluorescent scanner and compared to CACs in the control group.

The researchers found that the NSCLC patients had significantly higher numbers of CACs than the controls, and that the quantity of CACs increased as the stage of disease advanced. The researchers also identified possible CAC genetic biomarkers for disease recurrence and survival, but the biomarkers evaluated were not significant after adjusting for age, sex, and disease stage.

"We have developed a sensitive and quantitative antigen-independent FISH-based test for detecting CACs in peripheral blood of patients with NSCLC, which showed a significant correlation with the presence of cancer. If this pilot study can be validated in a larger study, CACs may have a role in the management of patients with NSCLC," the authors write.

The study was supported in part by a grant from AstraZeneca. One study author also reported receiving a commercial research grant from AstraZeneca and having a patent pending.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Physician's Briefing