Non-invasive techniques for detecting lung cancer could encourage larger-scale testing of people at risk for the disease, leading to lives saved through early detection and treatment.
In a study involving 165 patients with non-small cell lung cancer and 185 controls, Simon Spivack, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues showed in principle that a test for detecting microRNA molecules in exhaled breath can distinguish patients with lung cancer from controls. MicroRNAs are involved in regulating gene expression and often become deranged in cancer cells. After collecting exhaled breath samples from the study’s 351 participants, Dr. Spivack’s team used a highly sensitive PCR assay to look for potential microRNA lung-cancer biomarkers from among a panel of 24 miRNAs found in human lung tissue. The miRNA panel testing only modestly improved case-control accuracy by 1.1-2.5 percent. However, the researchers believe that refinements currently in process can improve the test, which might also have potential for monitoring acute inflammatory processes and infections as well as other lung conditions. The study was published online on April 24 in Scientific Reports.
Dr. Spivack is professor of medicine, of epidemiology & population health, and of genetics at Einstein, and a pulmonologist at Montefiore Health System. The paper’s first and corresponding author is Miao Shi, Ph.D., former associate in the department of medicine at Einstein.
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Posted on: Wednesday, May 24, 2023