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Metabolic phenotyping of blood plasma allowed detection of lung cancer

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 Feb 29, 2016 Unique metabolic biomarkers that are specific to lung cancer patients have been identified by metabolic phenotyping of blood plasma using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (H-NMR). It allowed for precise identification of patients with early and late stage lung cancer. As reported by National Lung Cancer Screening Trial, lung cancer mortality can be decreased by 20% and in high risk patients overall mortality can be decreased by 7% through three annual low dose computed topography (LDCT) scans, unlike standard lung X-rays.

However, high rate of false positive results were achieved due to poor specificity of LDCT. These false positive cases can be reduced by lung cancer biomarkers that have potential to replace current screening standards. An intense research has been carried out from the last decade to identify potential metabolic biomarkers to diagnose lung cancer. Evidence suggested that difference in cell metabolism of cancerous and non-cancerous cells might be proved useful for early detection and screening of cancer.

357 patients of lung cancer from Limburg Positron Emission Tomography Center and Department of Respiratory Medicine of University Hospitals and also 347 control non-cancerous patients from Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg were recruited by researchers. Both the cancer and non-cancer patients were bifurcated into two cohorts. Out of two, training cohort include patients who researchers used to scan for metabolic variances and validation cohort used to validate methods and models. Metabolic differences between cancer and non-cancer groups were analysed by collecting fasting venous blood from each patient using H-NMR. 

The results identified increased levels of various metabolites in cancer vs non-cancer patients which includes glucose, leucine, lysine, N-acetylated glycoproteins, others and decreased levels of lactate, alanine, sphingomyelin, citrate, phosphatidylcholine and other phospholipids. On the basis of observations from metabolic variances, 78% of lung cancer patients and 92% of controls were classified by model accurately. 

According to Pharmaion, pharma and healthcare consultants latest report, United States Cancer Biomarker Market Opportunities, 2011 - 2021”, these findings of new cancer biomarkers might prove to be novel method for early screening and detection of cancer in patients. The finding indicated that metabolic alterations can be detected at an early stage. 

 

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