BloodPressureHeartMeds.Net

Simple, minimal invasive technique could help detect early-stage lung cancer

March 15, 2017

"In this study we used the same principle as we used in our earlier studies of bronchial tissue, only this time, those methods were used to study nasal cells," she said. "Our hypothesis was that the upper airway epithelium of smokers with lung cancer displays a cancer-specific gene expression pattern, and that this airway nasal gene expression signature reflects the changes that occur in lung tissue."

Dr. Anderlind said the results of the current study are an initial indication that simple nasal brushings could offer an alternative to lung biopsy and other invasive techniques aimed at identifying lung cancer in its early stages.

"This study is a pilot study and our results are preliminary," she said. "Although we did have some indication based on previous studies that we might find gene expression changes in nasal cells, it was unexpected that normal-looking airway cells located at a distance from the lungs would show a specific gene signature that distinguishes patients with cancer from those with benign disease," she said.

A larger study funded by the National Cancer Institute's Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) in collaboration with Steven Dubinett and David Elashoff at UCLA and with Allegro Diagnostics Inc, is planned to confirm the results, she noted.

"The development of a nasal biomarker for diagnosis of lung cancer would make early diagnosis of lung cancer more feasible, allowing patients with radiographic findings that are suspicious for lung cancer to be evaluated in the clinic with nose brushings," Dr. Anderlind said. "We are planning to analyze at least 100 more samples from patients with benign disease and lung cancer, to be able to validate our results and to work toward the development of a nasal biomarker for early detection of lung cancer."

Source: Boston University Medical Center