A study has revealed that an immune system protein may help detect lung cancer in the early stages.
In the study, the researchers analysed blood samples from 50 healthy volunteers and 104 people with various types of lung cancer.
They tested for autoantibodies, an immune system protein directed at the body's own tissues in response to specific chemical signals in the body.
They looked specifically for a panel of seven autoantibodies, which are associated with 'solid tumours,' such as lung, breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers, and triggered when cancerous changes take place.
The analysis showed the presence of all the seven autoantibodies, and very high levels of at least one of the seven in almost eight out of 10 samples taken from patients with confirmed lung cancer.
The autoantibodies were found in eight out of the nine patients whose cancer had not infiltrated the lymph nodes, body's gatekeepers.
The results indicated that the disease had not yet extended elsewhere and offered 80 percent chances of cure and only one healthy volunteer had more than one of the autoantibodies in their blood. .
The study is published in the journal Thorax.