Monday, October 17, 2016

Blood tests can cut time between diagnosis and treatment

CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 17, 2016 – Patients at high risk for lung cancer who have a blood test to identify certain genetic mutations known to play a role in development different types of lung cancer can sharply reduce the time needed to decide on a treatment and start treatment once they are diagnosed with lung cancer, a new study suggests.

Early results of the study will be presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, in Los Angeles Oct. 26, ahead of publication in the journal CHEST

In the study, researchers at Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wisconsin ordered a series of blood tests for 20 patients at high risk of lung cancer. The blood tests were used to identify mutations in a panel of genes that have been shown to be involved in different forms and stages of lung cancers either aggressive small cell lung cancer, or more common non-small cell lung cancer. They then compared the time to deciding on a treatment and starting treatment following diagnosis with only a traditional biopsy.

The result was that those who had the blood tests yielded important diagnostic information within 72 hours regardless of disease stage, which significantly reduced the time to treatment decision and starting treatment. 

"Waiting for test results on biopsy material to determine the correct course of action can delay treatment for several weeks, sometimes months," says lead author Dr. Jennifer Mattingly. "The rapid and accurate results of these (blood) tests significantly decreases the wait time between diagnosis and treatment."

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