MONDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Preliminary research
suggests that a blood test could offer evidence that a nonsmoker
has lung cancer, potentially giving doctors a new diagnostic
About one in four people who develop lung cancer have never
smoked. This test could be used to find indications of the disease
in patients whose chest scans show signs of potential trouble,
investigator Charlie Birse, associate director of product
development at Celera Corp., said in a news release from the
American Association for Cancer Research.
The test "would allow these imaging tests to be further
evaluated and provide a degree of certainty in diagnosis," Birse
The researchers came to their conclusions after testing more
than 600 samples in search of "biomarkers" that would indicate the
presence of cancer. Once they found biomarkers that seemed
promising, they ran the tests on samples of 80 people who had never
smoked, including 40 with lung cancer and 40 who did not have the
disease. The people in both groups were matched for age and
The biomarkers successfully indicated cancer 83 percent of the
time, the study authors said.
The study's sample size is small, cautioned Dr. Edward S. Kim,
chief of the section of head and neck medical oncology at
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, who was not part
of the study team.
Overall, though, it's important to find ways to detect lung
cancer that aren't invasive, he said. "CT scans for screening will
be added this summer, but not much else has demonstrated any
The findings were to be released Monday at the annual meeting of
the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando, Fla.
Because this research was presented at a medical meeting, the
data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more on risk factors for lung cancer, visit the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and