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Cheek cells' DNA points to lung cancer risk

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http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArt ... ived=False

By Martha Kerr

MONTREAL (Reuters Health) - Canadian investigators reported here Monday that they have identified DNA changes in cells taken from the inside of the cheek that are associated with a risk for stage I lung cancer.

Dr. Bojana Turic said that her team's focus has been on detecting stage I lung cancer because that stage is considered treatable. Most lung cancers are detected at later stages.

Turic and her colleagues at Perceptronix, Inc., in Vancouver, Canada, collected cheek cell specimens from 354 high-risk patients and 203 patients with confirmed lung cancer, 62 of which were stage I.

Automated analysis identified DNA changes that are linked to lung cancer risk. The test detected 72 percent of lung cancer cases, although it also produced a similar number of false-positive results, Turic reported.

"Currently, an integrated approach is necessary to detect lung cancer in its early stage. No one test will solve the screening problem," Turic commented in an interview with Reuters Health.

"We believe that a combination of two or more tests will provide a better patient management approach. For example, a positive CT scan and a positive (automated cell analysis) test may (identify) higher risk patients, and they should be followed more closely and more often."

The team has already developed a sputum test for lung cancer using their analysis method. They are hoping for Canadian regulatory approval in early 2006.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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