This month great strides have been made in treating the deadliest cancer, lung cancer. Lung cancer has a high recurrence rate, so scientists have been working on ways to catch it early for better survivability. They are studying healthy tissue around the cancer for signs of inflammation to predict if the cancer will come back. New research has shown that CT scan screening is a valuable tool to increase lung cancer survivability. A new protein that is a kill switch for cancer cells has been discovered by scientists, providing hope for new treatments.
Healthy Tissue May Predict Lung Cancer Return Better Than Tumors
In the new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, scientists analyzed tissue samples from 143 men and women with early-stage lung adenocarcinoma. They found that the activity of genes, specifically those involved in inflammation, in the healthy lung tissue adjacent to tumor cells was able to more accurately indicate whether a patient’s cancer returned within five years of surgery than the corresponding gene expression in tumor cells. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States, if it is caught early the treatment is surgical removal of the tumor. Researchers are hoping to take these findings from the lab to help patients that are at a higher risk for recurrence. Scientists analyzed RNA for inflammatory proteins from healthy lung tissue and then used artificial intelligence to help predict cancer recurrence with very high rates of accuracy.
CT Screening Greatly Boosts Lung Cancer Survivability
For smokers and former smokers, getting annual CT scans of the chest to catch lung cancers early dramatically improve survival reports journal Radiology. Early detection is the key to surviving lung cancer and doctors are using low dose CT scans to catch it in the early stages. Researchers are now reporting high 20-year survival rates for patients with lung cancer caught by annual CT scans instead of waiting for symptoms to return. Even with the decrease in the amount of people that smoke, lung cancer is the deadliest cancer. Currently most lung cancers are not getting detected in the early stages. The updated guidelines advise annual CT screenings for smokers and former smokers starting at age 50 and continuing until age 80 reports. People who never smoked but were exposed to secondhand smoke by family or a partner are also at high risk.
Newly Found ‘Kill Switch” Triggers Death of Cancer Cells in Potential Breakthrough
Scientists at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sacramento, California, have identified a protein on the CD95 receptor that can “program” cancer cells to die, as detailed in a study published in the journal Cell Death and Differentiation last month. The goal is to use this new information to develop cancer drugs to trigger the CD95 receptor to kill the cancer cells. CAR-T therapy is an immunotherapy treatment but has mainly been effective for some liquid tumors, not solid tumors. This new research may help find therapies for solid tumors, killing tumor cells and aiding the immunotherapies.
Dana Kaiser is a professional writer and a strong patient advocate, learning from experience during her 22-year career as a nurse.