With regard to some patients who have a low risk of lung cancer during its early stages, a recent study shows that researchers have uncovered a less invasive and more cost-efficient way to screen at risk patients. Furthermore, this research suggests that a nasal swab could accurately detect lung cancer.
According to some findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a research team from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) may have found a new way to discern whether lung lesions are malignant.
The key component is DNA-based “biomarkers” in the nasal passages which actually indicate whether a lung lesion is cancerous or not.
Marc Lenburg, co-author of the study states that “Nasal gene expression [production] contains information about the presence of cancer.” He believes the nasal swab “might aid in lung cancer detection.”
Moreover, the new study involved patients who were both current and former smokers across 28 different medical centers in North America and Europe. Through the nasal swab test, the Boston research team identified a distinct pattern of 30 genes that showed different activity from patients who have lung cancer from those who don’t.
One important outcome of this test was the ability to see cancer-associated gene expressions that were altered similarly through the two airway sites. This allowed to come to the conclusion that the brushings could be a biomarker or a scientific indicator of lung cancer.
After carefully evaluating 550 nasal samples, the research team concluded that they could actually detect lung cancer-associated genetic changes in both nose and lung cell samples. This in turn could help predict or detect if the patient had lung cancer.
While the nasal swab needs to undergo additional testing, there is no doubt that the nasal test has the potential of becoming a mass testing tool for patients across the country and even globally.