FDG-PET Distinguishes Low- and High-Risk Lung Cancer Patients After Radiotherapy

Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scans may be able to detect early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who are at high risk of treatment failure after stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). A retrospective study examined patients with early-stage NSCLC who were ineligible for or refused surgery and were instead treated with SBRT. Patients with lower FDG-PET readings prior to SBRT treatment survived longer, and those whose FDG-PET readings changed more after SBRT were less likely to experience treatment failure. FDG-PET scans may therefore help identify which patients are at lower or higher risk of recurrence; high-risk patients may opt for additional treatment and/or more frequent surveillance after treatment. FDG-PET has shown similar predictive value in early-stage NSCLC treated with surgery.

New Tool Helps to Tell Cancerous Lung Spots from Benign Ones

Researchers have developed a ‘risk calculator‘ that can identify with 90% accuracy whether spots or bumps (so-called ‘nodules’) detected by a CT (computed tomography) scan in high-risk individuals are indeed lung cancer or not. Prevention experts recommend annual low-dose lung CT scans for heavy smokers. However, these scans also detect many nodules that are not cancer and follow-up interventions can be costly and dangerous. The new risk calculation software uses several different factors, including the size of the nodule and its location in the lung; the patient’s age, sex, and family history; and more, to predict whether a given nodule is cancerous. Experts hope that this tool will reduce unnecessary follow-up procedures, while increasing early detection of lung cancer.

Results of the Two Incidence Screenings in the National Lung Screening Trial

The National Lung Screening Trial was conducted to determine whether three annual screenings (rounds T0, T1, and T2) with low-dose helical computed tomography (CT), as compared with chest radiography, could reduce mortality from lung cancer. We present detailed findings from the first two incidence screenings (rounds T1 and T2).

Low-dose CT was more sensitive in detecting early-stage lung cancers, but its measured positive predictive value was lower than that of radiography. As compared with radiography, the two annual incidence screenings with low-dose CT resulted in a decrease in the number of advanced-stage cancers diagnosed and an increase in the number of early-stage lung cancers diagnosed.

Clinical Laboratory in Indiana to Offer Blood Test for Lung Cancer

Mid America Clinical Laboratories, the largest clinical laboratory in Indiana, will begin offering EarlyCDT-Lung, a blood test designed to help diagnose lung cancer early on. EarlyCDT-Lung checks whether the patient has antibodies (immune system components) associated with a number of tumor-related proteins. High levels of such antibodies suggest that cancer may be present. EarlyCDT is highly accurate and specific for lung cancer, is less likely than computed tomography (CT) scans to falsely detect cancer when none is present, and can detect cancer-related antibodies up to 5 years before a tumor can be found using other screening methods. Such early detection is vital because lung cancer survival rates are higher when the disease is diagnosed at an early stage.

Tools Affect Prostate Cancer Screening Decisions, Not Rates

“Both Internet and print-based decision aids equally helped men make important decisions related to prostate cancer screening. Both of the aids resulted in men who were better educated about screening options up to 13 months later. The results of this education study are published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study showed that the screening education tool did not affect actual screening rates.”

Fast, New Screen Reveals Melanoma Proteins Targeted by Immunotherapy

Immune system cells that dive into tumors can make melanomas shrink and even disappear altogether. But these cells, called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, must be customized to target the specific proteins that are mutated in each melanoma — and identifying these mutated proteins is time-consuming. Now, there’s a much faster way to screen melanomas for specific mutated proteins, report researchers in a Nature Medicine study. Rather than analyzing all of the DNA (genome), the new method looks only at the parts that code for proteins, which account for just 1% the genome. This method could also be used to quickly screen the mutated proteins in other kinds of tumors.

Inexpensive, Accurate Way to Detect Prostate Cancer: At-Home Urine Tests

Early screening for prostate cancer could become as easy for men as personal pregnancy testing is for women, thanks to UC Irvine research published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Clinical Trial Seeks to Find People with Mutation That May Confer High Risk for Lung Cancer

Many lung cancer patients have never smoked. Some nonsmokers may be at high risk of developing lung cancer due to inherited genetic mutations. While lung cancer patients often have mutations in their tumor tissue, some also carry genetic mutations in all cells of their body, which were present even before the cancer. The INHERIT EGFR clinical trial by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute studies a specific mutation in the EGFR gene called T790M. The trial is recruiting patients with the T790M mutation in their tumors who have a high chance of carrying the otherwise very rare mutation in all of their body cells, along with their relatives, who may also carry the mutation. Researchers will investigate whether people with the T790M mutation indeed have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. The findings may help to develop better ways to detect lung cancer sooner or to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Low-Radiation CT Scan Superior for Detecting Lung Cancer Recurrences

A new screening method may offer a better way to monitor recurrence after lung cancer surgery. Recurrence is common, but traditional screening methods, including chest x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans, have significant drawbacks. A new minimal dose CT (MnDCT) scan reduces radiation exposure to no more than that of standard x-rays, but it maintains superior sensitivity. In a recent study, MnDCT detected 94% of cancer recurrences in patients who had received surgery to remove stage I or II lung cancer; x-rays caught only 21%. However, MnDCT has a high rate of false positives (ie, detecting lung cancer when none is actually present), which is of concern because recurrence may call for invasive and potentially dangerous follow-up procedures.