A new blood test to detect lung cancer has been shown to be 98% accurate in its diagnosis.
Dr. Gerard Silvestri, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, led a study to explore a noninvasive method of determining whether lung nodules are benign or malignant.
Biopsies are invasive. And often, doctors will advise even more invasive solutions, such as surgery, to remove the nodules.
For such sensitive, fragile organs as the lungs, however, an invasive method brings with it a whole set of risks that can make the situation worse.
Currently, in the United States, around 1.6 million pulmonary nodules per year require further testing to determine whether they are cancerous.
Blood Test: Lung Cancer Biomarkers
The new blood test can determine whether patients with lung nodules are likely to have developed harmless or malignant tumors. The main biomarkers that this blood test examines are the proteins LG3BP and C163A. These proteins are plasma concentrations which has been shown to predict lung cancer.
If the test results are negative, then probability of lung cancer is less than 50 percent. Thus, doctors can devise, if necessary, an appropriate treatment plan and follow-up routine.
The blood test biomarker helps to calculate the general risk of cancer and then presents a patient with recommendations. It can push people out of indeterminate risk and into low-risk without resorting to surgery. Most important, researchers calculated that 40 percent fewer invasive procedures would have been done had this blood test been available.
These results show that the blood test is 98 percent effective in ruling out the possibility of lung cancer.