With blood tests becoming more common to detect breast cancer, it is no surprise that this type of test also has the potential of detecting the return of lung cancer after the disease has been removed from the body. Recently, researchers have reported that there is a good chance that unstable chromosomes increase the overall risk that the lung cancer will return.
This information was used by researchers at the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature to predict when the lung cancer would spread before signs were apparent in the patient.
A study conducted by the Cancer Research UK-funded TRACERx tracked the medical experiences of around one hundred patients through their diagnosis, lengthy surgeries and the post-surgery phase. The researchers paid close attention to the post-surgery phase as this could lead to either full recovery or a possible relapse with the return of cancer.
One highly important discovery from this study showed that patients with a high number of unstable chromosomes in their system had a 4x more chance of relapsing. Patients with a high number of unstable chromosomes unfortunately also had a stronger chance of dying within two years.
It is also important to note that genetically diverse tumors could become increasingly resistant to treatment in patients.
Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, the study’s lead author sheds light on why this study specifically is really important when it comes to guiding patients towards the end goal of beating lung cancer.” Jamal-Hanjani states that “Determining the relationship between diversity within tumors and patient survival is one of the primary goals of TRACERx, so to find evidence for this so early on in the study is really encouraging.
“We’ve also identified what causes lung cancer to advance, providing us with insight into the biological processes that shape the evolution of the disease,” Jamal-Hanjani also stated.