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Oncology (Williston Park). 2012 Feb;26(2):176-82.

New testing for lung cancer screening.

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Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. At the time of initial presentation, most patients are at an advanced stage of disease with an associated poor prognosis.Those diagnosed and treated at earlier stages have a significantly better outcome, with 5-year survival for stage I disease approaching 75%. Ideally, a screening strategy for lung cancer would detect disease at an earlier stage and allow for potential surgical cure in those with cancer and avoid unnecessary morbidity in those without. Until recently, there had not been a screening test that demonstrated a mortality reduction in lung cancer. The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial showed that screening high-risk persons with low-dose CT scanning could significantly reduce lung cancer mortality; however, there are difficulties in generalizing these results to the community. Several new testing techniques, including measurement of volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath, an airway epithelial gene expression biomarker, and serum sampling for antibodies to tumor-associated antigens, are currently being evaluated and may prove useful as part of a screening algorithm for lung cancer.

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