Cancer News Network

Cancer Awareness , Developments in Cancer Research and News on Cancer

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Genetic tests to predict early stages of lung cancer US scientists have developed a genetic test to predict early stages of lung cancer by looking for genetic changes in the cells of a smoker's airways. The results of the study are published online in the journal Nature Medicine.

Dr. Avrum Spira from the Pulmonary Center at Boston University, Massachusetts, and fellow researchers took tissue samples from smokers who were tested for lung cancer and compared the genetic structure of those who were given the all clear against those who went on to develop the disease.

Cigarette smoke passes into the lungs via the airways, and creates a "field of injury" as the scientists called it. They had a hunch that this field of injury might give genetic clues for early stage lung cancer.

In effect this is what they found. First, in a preliminary study they identified an 80-gene biomarker that can distinguish smokers with and without lung cancer.They did this by comparing the genes from large-airway cells taken during bronchoscopy examinations of 77 smokers suspected of having lung cancer and comparing them to a commercially available gene profiler, in this case the Affymetrix HG-U133A microarray. This holds the gene pattern for 14,500 well-characterized human genes and is used by scientists to explore human biology and disease.

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