In what is considered a breakthrough of sorts, researchers believe they have zeroed in on a key protein and its presence in elevated levels in the blood of lung cancer victims. All it may take is a simple blood test to diagnose the disease.
The protein, called isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1), and its presence in elevated levels in the blood is the new biomarker for cancer diagnosis.
"This study is the first to report identification of IDH1 as a novel biomarker for the diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) using a large number of clinical samples. We have identified IDH1 as an effective plasma biomarker with high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of NSCLC, especially lung adenocarcinoma," said Jie He, director of the Laboratory of Thoracic Surgery at the Peking Union Medical College.
"Based on the present data, IDH1 can be used to detect stage 1 lung cancer; however, it is also possible that IDH1 could be used to detect precancer but further studies are required to address that possibility," he said.