Lung cancer: a blood test tells you if you are at risk.
A simple blood test can tell if you are at risk of tumor formation in the lungs? Apparently so, at least to what emerged from the European Institute of Oncology, headed by Umberto Veronesi. It is a useful finding for smoking and especially heavy smokers who have more than 50 years. And apparently, this question has great clinical value comparable to a spiral CT. The European Institute of Oncology (IEO) of Umberto Veronesi will publish in the next issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute study based on tests of the miRNA (micro RNA) that could revolutionize the time of diagnosis, and therefore the care of one of tumors considered “big killer”. It should add, as a positive note, that an investigation is not very expensive and therefore thanks to the low cost ideal for screening activities.

The search is made in Italy, specifically an IEO team headed by the director of the Molecular Medicine, Pier Paolo Di Fiore, thanks to their experience in the field were able to conduct the study and to achieve brilliant results. “We know that cancer often leads to alterations of miRNAs, which are fragments of genetic material, present in biological fluids. We thought then to study for early detection, analyzing their presence in the blood of 1,115 heavy smokers or former smokers, recruited in Our study Cosmos (Continuous Observation of Smoking Subjects). So we discovered that miRNAs have a certain ‘molecular signature’ if there is an ongoing process, initial tumor in the lung. We have thus demonstrated that the test of miRNAs is nullifying, that is, if it is positive , that is to say this is the ‘signature’, the smoker must undergo tac at low doses, but if it is negative should not do further investigations, until subsequent drawdown “.


In short the “signature” was found only in 48 people who have become ill with lung cancer. Withdrawals for the blood test can be done anywhere on the territory and the analysis carried out in specialized centers. The technique used for exams, says Fabrizio Bianchi, head of the laboratory genomics and bioinformatics, is widespread in many hospitals. Focusing on early detection is crucial to lowering the mortality from cancer, and also to avoid a series of treatments, surgical and pharmacological, to patients, added Di Fiore.

“It should be emphasized – says Professor Lorenzo Spaggiari, program director lung IEA – that the only test for the early detection of lung cancer can reduce mortality remains the tac in low doses, as shown by the larger study the world on the anticipation of lung cancer diagnostics, performed in the United States by the National Cancer Institute in 2011. However, a large scale screening with this type of CT scan would be very expensive and no healthcare system could afford. Today we perform 10 thousand tac to find 100 tumors. With the miRNA to find the same number of cancers we will perform 3,108, because patients will be selected. It ‘a turning point: the end of the tac was born and that of biomarkers. ”

Even the National Cancer Institute of Milan, explained at IEO, has started a similar search, but not on plasma and serum, as illustrated today. “The two jobs can be integrated in order to optimize the test,” said Flower. But the best way to reduce as much as possible to zero the chance of developing lung cancer remains not to start smoking or to quit at least once. Let us always remember that SMOKING seriously affect the health WHO SMOKES AND WHO IS NEXT TO ABOUT SMOKING (parents, wives, children, friends …) .