New Technique for Identifies Non-Small Lung Cancer Cells


According to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research journal, by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), researchers have discovered a possible new technique for identifying circulating abnormal cells in non-small lung cancer patients.

“These genetically abnormal cells are most likely circulating tumor cells shed from a malignant tumor. Increased numbers of these cells were associated with relapse of disease and poorer survival,” according to the study. The more advanced the stage of the disease, the more of these cells are found.

The technique is called “fluorescence in situ hybridization method” without using antibody capture. The results of this study is important because current FDA-approved methods of detection is “not very sensitive,” according to the study. The quicker these cells can be detected, the more reliable the test, the quicker treatment can be started and more targeted the treatment can be. All of that can improve prognosis.

Non-small lung cancer is “a disease in which [cancer] cells form in the tissues of the lung.

Types of Non-Small Lung Cancer:

• Adenocarcinoma, which begins in the cells that line the alveoli and substances like mucus. Alveoli are tiny air sacs inside the lungs.
• Large Cell carcinoma, which may begin in several types of large cells.
• Less common types include pleomorphic, carcinoid tumor, salivary gland carcinoma, and unclassified carcinoma.


Risk Factors:

The largest risk factor is smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars or having smoked in the past. Other risk factors include:

• Cough that does not go away
• Trouble breathing
• Chest discomfort
• Wheezing
• Streaks of blood in the sputum (mucus that is coughed up)
• Hoarseness
• Loss of appetite
• Unexplained weight loss
• Fatigue (extreme feelings of being tired)


There are many different tests that physicians can use to help detect non-small lung cancer. They include:

• Physical exam and medical history
• Lab tests (of blood, urine, tissues, and other substances)
• Chest X-ray
• CT scan
• PET scan
• Sputum Cytology
• FNA biopsy (fine-needle aspiration)
• Branchoscopy
• Thoracoscopy
• Thoracentesis

For more information on non-small lung cancer and the tests mentioned above, please click here


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People should be aware of patient support services that are available. The Lung Cancer Alliance provides patient support services and advocacy for those at risk and who have lung cancer. Support services include: Lung Cancer Information Line - A support, information and referral line for lung cancer patients, survivors, and their family and friends. Free educational materials available upon request. 800-298-2436. LCA Website. A credible source for information about lung cancer symptoms, early disease management, treatments, living with the disease, lung cancer related news and advocacy issues. LCA Survivors Community. An online support community for lung cancer patients, survivors, and their family and friends. Members may participate in discussions, post personal profiles, and build a network. Phone Buddy Program. A peer-to-peer telephone support network for people with lung cancer and their family members/caregivers. Volunteers lend support and share information and resources. 800-298-2436. Clinical Trial Matching Service. A pre-screening and referral service that identifies trial options. Clinical trial specialists find available trials based on the patient's diagnosis and treatment history. 800-698-0931. LCA Times Newsletter. A publication containing topics of interest to lung cancer patients, survivors, and their family and friends, healthcare professionals and advocates.