Biomarker Helps Identify Lung Lesions

Stephen Lam, M.D., of the Lung Tumour Group, British Columbia Cancer Agency at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and three associates measured CRP, lung function and other inflammatory markers in 65 individuals. All participants had at least one bronchial dysplasia greater than 1.2 millimetres in size, which was biopsied at the start of the study and re-examined six months later. Of the study cohort, 49 individuals (75 percent) were men, with 48 classified as current smokers. On average, study participants were 57 years old and had 52 pack-years of smoking history.

“Most new cases of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and the overall prognosis once diagnosed is dismal. The only reasonable chance of cure is surgical resection for early stage tumours,” said Lam. “However, most patients with early lung cancer are asymptomatic. Symptoms usually develop after the tumours become invasive or disseminated and curative resection is infeasible.” Consequently, researchers have been working to find novel non-invasive or semi-invasive methods of identifying individuals who harbour progressive precancerous lesions. If detected early, these lesions might be treated with a chemopreventive agent to impede progress to invasive carcinoma.

In the study, the level of CRP only differed between individuals who either did or did not develop progression in their bronchial lesions. “The odds of developing progressive disease were 9.6 fold higher in the group that had CRP greater than 0.5 mg per litre compared with the group less than this threshold,” stated Lam.; Source: University of British Columbia