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Blood test for lung cancer screening?

October 03, 2013
The Early Lung Cancer Detection Study is recruiting 10,000 patients in Scotland to find out if a new blood test can detect lung cancer at an early stage. Around 85% of lung cancers are diagnosed late. This is because lung cancer produces few symptoms in the early stages. By the time someone develops a persistent cough, shortness of breath or is coughing up blood, the cancer may already be large and it might have spread to other parts of the body. Using a blood test to check for the earliest signs that the body is reacting to lung cancer cells could be a very major step forward.

What is the Early CDT®-Lung test

The Early CDT®-Lung test that is undergoing trials in Scotland has been developed by the company Oncimmune, which is a collaboration between UK-based and USA-based respiratory medicine experts. “This is an important study that seeks to try and identify antibodies in our blood (small proteins that are produced as a reaction to something our body doesn't recognise) that are produced when our body detects lung cancer cells,” explains Professor Sam Janes, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at The Physicians' Clinic. The Early CDT®-Lung test is the result of several years’ research and has been devised to detect seven such antibodies. It has been through some trials already, but none as large as the Scottish study. “The initial results of these are encouraging and show these antibodies are indeed present in patients with advanced lung cancer. The challenge for the Scottish study is whether the antibodies appear at early stages allowing us to detect patients early enough to offer curative therapies,” says Professor Janes.

Major advances in lung cancer screening

Lung cancer screening is big news at the moment following a US based study of over 50,000 people. This showed that using CT scanning to screen for lung cancer in people aged 55-75 that smoke or have smoked a pack a day for 30 years of their life benefit enormously from early detection of lung cancers. “The trial showed CT screening for lung cancer reduced lung cancer deaths by 20% and overall death by 7%. The NHS is currently awaiting a second trial based in Europe before making a decision on whether to pursue CT screening in the UK,” adds Professor Janes.

Lung cancer screening at The Physicians’ Clinic

If you are interested in understanding whether you may benefit from CT screening or indeed the Early CDT-Lung test, please contact Professor Janes – email info@thephysiciansclinic.co.uk with Professor Janes Lung Test Enquiry in the subject line. Both of these screening tests can be carried out at The Physicians Clinic.

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