Tumor typing - or testing the genetic signature of a cancer - is currently helping doctors distinguish between more aggressive and less agressive cancers. As a result, they can recommend treatment that will be most effective for individual patients. Now, researchers have developed a similar test for lung cancer.
The Lung Metagene Predictor (described in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine ) scans non-small cell lung cancer cells’ genetic material for patterns that occur in cancers that are likely to reappear. It is 90 percent accurate, its developers said.
If a patient’s tumor shows such patterns, doctors can prescribe more aggressive treatments that are more likely to prevent a recurrence of cancer.
Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer, and it’s the number one cancer killer in the States. It also has one of the most easily preventable risk factors: smoking. ( More statistics )
I had a fascinating discussion yesterday with geneticist Huijun Ring of UCSF about her current research into the pharmacogenetics and -kinetics of smoking. In the not-so-distant future, there may be a “smoking cessation” genetic panel that will tell us about the way in a person metabolizes nicotine and the medications (such as Zyban ) that will be most effective in helping her quit.