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Gene test holds ‘great promise’ to predict lung cancer

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http://www.newkerala.com/news2.php?acti ... s&id=28222

Sydney: A new study has found that a test that finds damaged genes in the lungs of people considered at high risk of lung cancer may also be able to predict who actually develops the deadly disease.

Though Steven Belinsky, director of the Lung Cancer Program at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico who conducted the study, who led the study said that the test, when perfected, would hold great promise for identifying people who were likely to develop the disease.

“When perfected and validated, this kind of test holds great promise for identifying people with lung cancer early enough to successfully treat them,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.

The test looks at the DNA in lung cells in sputum, a substance such as saliva, phlegm, or mucus coughed up from the respiratory tract and usually ejected by mouth.

The test seeks chemical silencing of six genes known to be inactivated at different stages of lung cancer development - P16, PAX5-beta, MGMT, DAPK, GATA5 and RASSF1A, for the study found that patients with three or more of these silenced genes in sputum had a 6.5-fold increase risk of a lung cancer diagnosis within 18 months.

Steven Belinsky said that the new test would mean that people could be diagnosed with cancer before it became advanced.

“Because most people are diagnosed when their cancer is advanced, they may not benefit from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, which is why median survival from diagnosis is only 13 months. But lung tumours that can be surgically removed are associated with a five-year survival rate of more than 60 per cent,” he said.

Due to a lack of diagnosis, only 15 per cent of lung cancer patients survive for more than five years.

The study is published in the March issue of Cancer Research.

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