Scientists at Duke University have developed a new test, called the Lung Metagene Predictor, which is able to predict with near certainty whether the most common type of lung cancer will return after surgery. The 90% accurate predictions allow physicians to better prescribe a treatment for the patient.
Lung cancer is either classified as “small-cell” or “non-small-cell.” The small-cell cancer is treated with chemotherapy and non-small-cell is usually treated with surgery. However, nearly one-third of those patients who undergo surgery see a reappearance of the cancer in their bodies. The Lung Metagene Predictor will allow physicians to determine which patients will see the reappearance and prescribe a more aggressive treatment for them.
Duke researcher David Harpole says, “If we can use the test to increase patient survival by even 5 percent, we would save 10,000 lives a year. In reality, we can do much better than that.”