Friday, August 22, 2008

Gene Test for Determining Lung Cancer Treatment

Canadian and U.S. researchers have taken movements toward developing a gene test to determine whether a patient's lung cancer is especially aggressive, or whether radical treatment can be avoided.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer death in women, with about 975,000 men and 376,000 women projected to die from it annually.

Recently, the researchers has reported that they analyzed lung cancer tissue from 442 people to confirm that measuring the activity of certain genes can help predict early on which cases may be the most deadly and which have a better prognosis. In addition, by knowing whether a person has an aggressive tumor, one likely to spread quickly and uncontrollably beyond the lungs, is important in determining the type of treatment needed.

According to those researchers, tracking gene activity, along with taking into account, clinical factors like the patient's age, sex and the tumor stage, in example, whether it had spread, made them better able to make a prognosis. Moreover, doctors are eager to come up with reliable paths to determine how aggressive a tumor is likely to be when a patient is in the earliest stages of lung cancer. In some cases, patients have aggressive tumors that could require additional types of potentially onerous treatment, while people with less invasive tumors may be able to avoid such treatment.

Patients whose lung cancer has not spread may not need more treatment after surgery to eliminate the tumor. However, if it can be shown a tumor is likely to be aggressive the patient could be a candidate for getting further intensive therapy that might include radiation and chemotherapy.

The aim is for a simple test assessing the activity of certain genes to determine the aggressiveness of a tumor. According to those researchers, they plan to refine the process, identifying crucial genes and testing more tissue samples. For information, the lung-cancer tissue samples came from six different institutions in the Canada and United States. In addition, the particular type of cancer involved in the study was lung adenocarcinoma, which often is caused by smoking.

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