Friday, August 9, 2013

Tumor cell pattern may predict lung cancer recurrence

A study reported this week by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) may offer an additional glimmers of hope for people with certain types of lung cancer.

In a study to be published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute a group of chest surgeons and pathologists at MSKCC in New York, found that a specific pattern of cell characteristics in the removed tumor were good predictors of recurrence. The study is to be published in the Aug. 20 issue.
The study looked at tumor tissues removed from 734 patients who had surgery for early stage adenocarcinoma, the most common type of non-small cell lung cancer that affects the tissues of the spongy sections of the lung and makes up about 50 percent of non-small cell lung cancers. 

The researchers found that tumors with an abnormal pattern cells in the tumor, called micropapillary (MIP) morphology, had a 34 percent risk of the cancer returning within five years.

The significance of the finding is the if a patient’s tumor has this abnormal pattern, then more aggressive surgery called lobectomy, in which up to a third of the lung is removed may be called for. On the other hand if the patient’s tumor doesn’t have this abnormal pattern a more limited lung-sparing surgery may be all that is needed.

The trouble with the study results, however, is that only a handful of cancer centers in the country have the expertise to identify this MIP pattern during surgery, according to the researchers. To remedy this, they are working to develop the technology that can be used to precisely identify which tumors have the MIP pattern before or during surgery.

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