Blood test may detect lung cancer in early stages

CHICAGO Mon Jun 2, 2008 1:44am EDT

A medical personnel takes a blood sample to test for dengue fever in a temporary shelter set up by the Air Force in Rio de Janeiro March 31, 2008. REUTERS/Bruno Domingos

A medical personnel takes a blood sample to test for dengue fever in a temporary shelter set up by the Air Force in Rio de Janeiro March 31, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Bruno Domingos

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - A simple blood test may be able to detect lung cancer in its early stages, which would represent a promising strategy to improve survival rates, researchers said on Sunday.

The two-year survival rate is only about 15 percent mainly because the disease, which kills 1.3 million people globally a year, is often diagnosed in advanced stages.

Preliminary findings of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, suggest that a specific genetic profile for lung cancer is present in the blood and can be detected with 88 percent accuracy.

The blood-based lung cancer genetic fingerprint is suitable to identify the disease and predict its occurrence within two years, the study said.

Dr. Thomas Zander of the University Clinic Cologne, who led the research, said more studies are needed to validate the findings.

"Early detection of lung cancer is a major need," Zander said.

(Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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