Lung Cancer Gene Test Could Predict Recurrence
A new test could predict the return of lung cancer based on a patient’s molecular biology, a new study published in The Lancet suggests. According to HealthDay News, the test could help doctors determine a patient’s likelihood of a relapse of non-small-cell lung cancer after surgery.
The discovery is a breakthrough for doctors trying to treat cancer, said study co-author Michael Mann of the University of California, San Francisco.
“This may be one of the very first examples of where we understood enough about the molecular biology of a cancer to truly personalize the treatment of patients and actually improve the cure rate for that cancer,” Mann said.
The test works by examining 14 genes in the biological makeup of a patient’s tumor to determine the likelihood that the patient will die within five years of surgery. To determine its effectiveness, researchers gave the gene test to 433 lung cancer patients in California and another 1,006 in China. They found they were able to accurately predict the individual rate of survival within the next five years.
Researchers hope their results will be able to be readjusted after a patient undergoes surgery in order to predict a recurrence of cancer.
“There may be an important conversation that you can have with your oncologist about potential benefit from additional therapy to reduce the likelihood of the cancer coming back,” Mann said.
The test is currently available to lung cancer patients, though it costs several thousand dollars. Anything over a few hundred dollars could be a problem for insurers, HealthDay noted.