New breathalyzer test could help detect `deadly` lung cancer

Breath test to detect lung cancer

Researchers have developed a breathalyzer test that could help detect cancer.

The device developed by Prof. Nir Peled of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Hossam Haick (inventor) of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and Prof. Fred Hirsch of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, is embedded with a “NaNose” nanotech chip to literally “sniff out” cancer tumors.

The study, presented at a recent American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, was conducted on 358 patients who were either diagnosed with or at risk for lung cancer. r Peled said lung cancer is a devastating disease, responsible for almost 2,000 deaths in Israel annually – a third of all cancer-related deaths.

He said ” Our new device combines several novel technologies with a new concept – using exhaled breath as a medium of diagnosing cancer.”

Dr Peled said their NaNose was able to detect lung cancer with 90 percent accuracy even when the lung nodule was tiny and hard to sample. It was even able to discriminate between subtypes of cancer, which was unexpected.

“Cancer cells not only have a different and unique smell or signature, you can even discriminate between subtypes and advancement of the disease,” said Dr. Peled. “The bigger the tumor, the more robust the signature.”

The device and subsequent analysis accurately sorted healthy people from people with early-stage lung cancer 85 percent of the time, and healthy people from those with advanced lung cancer 82 percent of the time. The test also accurately distinguished between early and advanced lung cancer 79 percent of the time.

The Boston-based company Alpha Szenszor has licensed the technology and hopes to introduce it to the market within the next few years

Source: ANI

Treat sexual problems in lung cancer patients on priority: Experts

Raising an issue that has been ignored for long in the case of lung cancer patients, experts have urged physicians to pay more attention on how such patients suffer difficulties with sexual expression and intimacy.

“It is time that doctors and scientists paid more attention to this important issue,” suggested Stephane Droupy from University Hospital of Nimes, France.

He was addressing the gathering at the fourth European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) here Friday.

Researchers have estimated that sexual dysfunction affects between 40 and 100 percent of patients who undergo cancer treatment.

Studies reveal that these problems may persist in due course rather than improving.

“We still have to do a lot of work on the awareness of sexual problems after cancer – lung cancer in particular. We hope that our session at ELCC would help begin the discussion about how best to help this group of patients,” Droupy added.

The emotional and physical consequences of lung cancer, as well as the impact of treatments, can all affect sexuality, he said.

For example, patients often experience a loss of libido when they learn they have cancer. The feelings of grief and depression can also diminish desire.

The physical changes that result from cancer and the impact of treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also have negative impacts on sexual expression, he noted.

Unlike other cancers, where survival is improving, lung cancer management often focuses on short-term quality of life improvement and palliative care.

“Sexuality is then even more difficult to protect or reconstruct in a short period of time when all efforts are made to stay alive,” Droupy added.

Another important step is for doctors and patients to have open and honest discussions about what the patient is going through.

“We know that sexuality is important for quality of life and marital relationships, yet health care professionals frequently avoid taking the sexual history of a cancer patient,” said Luca Incrocci, a radiation oncologist and sexologist from Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The 4th European Lung Cancer Conference is being held here March 26-29.

Source; The daily News and Analysis

Antioxidants speed lung cancer growth: Study

Although some people spend countless dollars on antioxidant supplements to improve their health, many studies have found that these would-be panaceas could actually exacerbate the diseases they claim to prevent.

Now, a team of Swedish scientists has shown that two antioxidants—vitamin E and N-acetylcysteine (NAC)—can fuel the growth of lung cancers in mice. The team also worked out why.

Antioxidants protect cells from chemically unstable molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can easily react with DNA and cause damage that leads to cancer. But Martin Bergo’s team at the University of Gothenburg showed that antioxidants neutralize ROS in tumors as well as healthy cells. “If we give extra antioxidants in the diet, we’re helping the tumor to reduce radicals that would otherwise block its growth,” Bergo said. “Then it can speed up all it wants.”

The results, published today (January 29) in Science Translational Medicine, are particularly important for people with an increased risk of lung cancer, including smokers or people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). “There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that these people should take extra antioxidants,” said Bergo. “It may even be harmful”

“They might have a small undiagnosed tumor, and no one knows the frequency of those,” he added. “There’s a possibility that antioxidants would speed up the growth of those tumors.” This word of caution is especially relevant to people with COPD, who often take large amounts of NAC to relieve the build-up of mucus in their airways.

“A warning seems appropriate for everyone who has been seduced to use antioxidants or vitamins on a regular basis, as a preventive measure,” the University of Syndey’s Nico van Zandwijk told The Scientist in an e-mail.

These results fit with those from a long line of human clinical trials, in which antioxidants failed to prevent disease or made things worse. The first of these was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1994, and showed that male smokers who took beta-carotene supplements were more likely to develop and die of lung cancer than those who did not. Other trials found similar results for other antioxidants and other cancers, and some of those studies were even stopped early.

In 2012, the Cochrane Collaboration analyzed the results of 78 earlier trials and, based on the most careful of them, concluded that people who took antioxidant supplements (including both healthy people and those with chronic diseases) were more likely to die prematurely than those who did not.

Few studies had looked at the reasons behind these seemingly paradoxical effects. Bergo’s team, led by graduate student Volkan Sayin, began by feeding NAC and vitamin E to mice with early lung cancers, at doses comparable to those in human multivitamin pills. The mice that ingested the antioxidants developed tumors that were three times bigger, and they died twice as fast.

Sayin then showed that tumors normally have lower levels of ROS than normal tissues. The antioxidants reduced these levels even further, protecting the tumors from DNA damage. They also dramatically reduced the activity of p53—a guardian protein that prevents cancer by detecting damaged DNA and putting the brakes on cell division.

By lifting p53’s suppression, the antioxidants allowed the cancer cells to grow and divide faster than usual. Indeed, when the team abolished p53 entirely, neither NAC nor vitamin E affected the growth of the lung tumors. “P53 is normally inactivated in late-stage lung cancer, so what we’re doing is speeding up the progression of malignancy,” said Bergo.

“This is an extremely striking observation, but not surprising given the rather disappointing outcomes of patients at risk for developing lung cancer who had been treated with various antioxidants,” David Tuveson from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who was not involved in the work, said in an e-mail. “We should now consider whether people consuming high doses of antioxidants are ironically promoting cancers that they seek to prevent.”

Although Bergo’s team focused on mice in this study, the scientists found the same mechanisms at work in human cells. They also used mice with the same genetic defects as those that cause human lung cancers, and whose tumors look identical to human ones under the microscope.

They are now doing similar experiments in melanomas, leukaemias, and gastrointestinal tumors to see whether the same mechanisms hold true for other types of cancer.

Source: The Scientist

Breath Test May Detect Signs of Lung Cancer: Study

Examining breath samples from patients with suspicious growths might help determine who needs surgery

Researchers tested the exhaled breath of people with suspicious lung lesions that were detected on CT scans. The breath was tested for levels of four cancer-specific substances, called “carbonyls.”

The breath samples were analyzed using a special device developed at the University of Louisville.

Having elevated levels of three of the four carbonyls was predictive of lung cancer in 95 percent of patients, while having normal levels of these substances was predictive of a noncancerous growth in 80 percent of patients, the researchers found.
Elevated carbonyl levels returned to normal after lung cancer patients had surgery to remove the cancer, according to the study, which was to be presented Tuesday at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

“Instead of sending patients for invasive biopsy procedures when a suspicious lung mass is identified, our study suggests that exhaled breath could identify which patients” may be referred for immediate surgery, study author Dr. Michael Bousamra, of the University of Louisville, said in a society news release.

This approach offers something new, he said, including “the simplicity of sample collection and ease for the patient.”

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: webmd

New lung cancer screening guidelines approved for older smokers

Guidelines recommending annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for older smokers have been approved by the US Preventive Services Task Force. The recommendations apply to individuals aged between 55 and 80 who are at high risk for lung cancer as a result of heavy smoking.

The guidelines are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 228,190 new cases of lung cancer will have been diagnosed during 2013, with 159,480 deaths from the disease. This accounts for around 27% of all cancer deaths.

Background information from the guidelines states that around 85% of all cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, and the risk of lung cancer increases with age, particularly for those aged over 55.

Dr. Michael LeFevre, co-vice chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), says these factors suggest that the longer a person smokes, the higher their risk is for developing lung cancer.

Guidelines recommending annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for older smokers have been approved by the US Preventive Services Task Force. The recommendations apply to individuals aged between 55 and 80 who are at high risk for lung cancer as a result of heavy smoking.

The guidelines are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 228,190 new cases of lung cancer will have been diagnosed during 2013, with 159,480 deaths from the disease. This accounts for around 27% of all cancer deaths.

Background information from the guidelines states that around 85% of all cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, and the risk of lung cancer increases with age, particularly for those aged over 55.

Dr. Michael LeFevre, co-vice chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), says these factors suggest that the longer a person smokes, the higher their risk is for developing lung cancer.

He adds:

“When clinicians are determining who would most benefit from screening, they need to look at a person’s age, overall health, how much the person has smoked, and whether the person is still smoking or how many years it has been since the person quit.”

Low-dose CT scanning ‘more accurate’
The 2004 lung cancer screening recommendation from the USPSTF stated that the “evidence was insufficient to recommend for or against screening for lung cancer in asymptomatic persons with LDCT (low-dose computed tomography), chest radiography, sputum cytologic evaluation or a combination of these tests.”

With the aim of updating these recommendations, a panel from the USPSTF reviewed more than 33 studies involving current or former smokers who were at average or high risk for developing lung cancer.

The analysis included a study of more than 50,000 people who were a part of the National Lung Screening Trial.

From their research, the panel found that low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening was more accurate in identifying the disease in its early stages, compared with alternative screening tests.

Their findings have led the USPSTF to “recommend annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.”

A 30-pack year is the equivalent to one pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years.

Screening not recommended when smoking ceased for 15 years
However, they note that screening should be stopped once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that shortens life expectancy or the willingness or ability to undergo potential lung surgery.

Dr. Virginia Moyer, chair of USPSTF emphasizes that it is important to assess a patient’s overall health to determine whether screening is appropriate.

“The benefit of screening may be significantly less in people with serious medical problems and there is no benefit in screening someone for whom treatment is not an option,” she says.

“In these people, screening may lead to unintended harms such as unnecessary tests and invasive procedures.”

She also adds that although screening for lung cancer is beneficial, it should not be seen as an alternative to giving up smoking.

Source: medical news today

Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all

Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation’s top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday — even as they stressed that the tests aren’t for everyone.

The long-anticipated decision by the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says these CT scans of the lungs should be offered only to people at especially high risk: those who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or an equivalent amount, such as two packs a day for 15 years — and who are between the ages of 55 and 80.

That’s roughly 10 million people, but not all of them qualify for screening, said task force vice chairman Dr. Michael LeFevre, a University of Missouri family physician. Even those high-risk people shouldn’t be scanned if they’re not healthy enough to withstand cancer treatment, or if they kicked the habit more than 15 years ago.

Lung cancer kills nearly 160,000 Americans each year. Smoking is the biggest risk factor, and the more and longer people smoke, the higher their risk. Usually, lung cancer is diagnosed too late for treatment to succeed, but until now there hasn’t been a good means of early detection.

The newly recommended screening could prevent as many as 20,000 deaths a year, LeFevre said — if it’s used correctly.

That estimate assumes good candidates seek the scans. There’s no way to know if people at the highest risk will, or if instead the overly anxious will flood testing centers.

Screen the wrong people, “and we could see more harm than good,” LeFevre cautioned. “There’s a lot of room for what I would call people exploiting the recommendation. I can imagine a street-corner imaging center advertising to invite people in.”

Why not screen younger or lighter smokers? There’s no data to tell whether they’d be helped. Lung cancer is rare before age 50, and the major study that showed screening could save lives enrolled only heavy smokers starting at age 55.

But screening isn’t harm-free. A suspicious scan is far more likely to be a false alarm than a tumor, LeFevre noted. Yet patients may undergo invasive testing to find out, which in turn can cause complications.

Moreover, radiation accumulated from even low-dose CT scans can raise the risk of cancer. And occasionally, screening detects tumors so small and slow-growing that they never would have threatened the person’s life.

While screening clearly can benefit some people, “the best way to avoid lung cancer death is to stop smoking,” LeFevre added.

The task force proposed the screenings last summer but published its final recommendation Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. That clears the way for insurers to begin paying for the scans, which cost between $300 and $500, according to the American Lung Association.

Under the Obama administration’s health care law, cancer screenings that are backed by the task force are supposed to be covered with no copays, although plans have a year to adopt new recommendations.

Source: Yahoo news

Cadila launches Mycidac-C : World’s first drug for lung cancer

Cadila Pharmaceuticals has announced the launch of Mycidac-C, an affordable, unique and innovative drug for the treatment of lung cancer.

Mycidac-C is an innovative research product for the patients suffering from Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). The drug has been approved for launch in India by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). It targets Desmocolin-3, a novel target, said the company in a statement.

According to the statement, Mycidac-C is a first in the class active immunotherapy as well as drug targeting Desmocollin-3. It is a breakthrough in the management of squamous cell NSCLC. There has been no significant innovation in management of squamous NSCLC since the introduction of platinum containing doublet in 1983. Besides affordability and other advantages, Mycidac-C has no systemic side effects during the treatment. Mycidac-C is to be used with platinum containing doublet therapy.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) report, approximately 1.25 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year worldwide. Around 30 per cent of them suffer from squamous NSCLC. Lung cancer kills more people than the three next commonest cancers combined.

Mycidac-C can be administered easily by trained paramedics, thus further reducing the cost of hospitalisation associated with other cancer therapy, according to the statement.

Rajiv I Modi, chairman and managing director, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, said, “It has taken us over a decade, a huge investment and a dedicated research and development team to develop this unique drug. We expect it to be available in the Indian market by December 2013. Thereafter, we will introduce it in other regions like SAARC countries and European markets over the next five years.”

Source: India Medical Times