Blood test may spot early lung cancers


An experimental blood test has shown promise toward detecting early lung cancer and may offer a more accurate tool than scans and invasive biopsies, researchers said Wednesday.

Only about 1 in 5 patients who undergo surgery or a biopsy for a small lung mass found during a computerized tomography (CT) scan actually have cancer, and experts say there is a great need for better technology.

The latest test, described in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was applied to the blood of 143 patients at three sites in North America. All had small masses called nodules in their lungs. Some had stage 1 cancers; others had benign lesions.

The test looked for a group of 13 proteins in the plasma and was able to determine when the nodules were benign 90 percent of the time.

A company spokesman said a commercial version of the test should be available later this year in the United States.