Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A blood test for lung cancer?

Date:
March 12, 2011
Source:
The Research Council of Norway
Summary:
Researchers have discovered genes that increase not only one's risk of lung cancer, but perhaps one's urge to smoke as well. Now these researchers are working on developing a blood test for lung cancer.

Norwegian researchers have discovered genes that increase not only one's risk of lung cancer, but perhaps one's urge to smoke as well. Now these researchers are working on developing a blood test for lung cancer.

"Smoking is by far the largest risk factor for developing lung cancer," says Professor Frank Skorpen of the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's and Women's Health at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Professor Skorpen is among the researchers in a project studying genetic factors and treatments for lung cancer.

Genetic factor doubles the risk

The risk of contracting lung cancer is relatively small for non-smokers. But the genetic factor for lung cancer found by the NTNU researchers nearly doubles that predisposition.

"This is a common genetic variant," explains the professor. "Roughly 10 per cent of the population has inherited this variant on both alleles, from mother and father, so there are many people with an increased risk of developing lung cancer." The danger does not stop there, however: the NTNU research indicates that this allele also correlates with a tendency to smoke more than others, raising the risk of developing lung cancer even higher.

Follow-up to international project

This gene, located on chromosome 15, codes for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the body's cells. It is not yet understood exactly how these receptors contribute to a higher risk of lung cancer and tendency to smoke more.

Each year some 2 000 Norwegians die of lung cancer, the world's most common cancer type.

The gene was originally found in a major international project in which the NTNU group participated. The project involved scanning the entire human genome for genetic factors that increase predisposition to lung cancer.

The NTNU researchers continued working on the genetic variant found to most increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer.

Smokers and non-smokers

Now they are analysing samples from the entire population of Norway's Nord-Trψndelag County, taken as part of the HUNT health study and encompassing over 57 000 persons.

"This is a large, homogenous population," says Professor Skorpen, "one that includes both smokers, former smokers and non-smokers."

The researchers aim to discover whether people who carry the genetic risk markers for lung cancer tend to smoke more, and how large a difference there may be among smokers, former smokers, and those who have never smoked.

Blood test for lung cancer

The chromosome-15 gene is associated with a certain type of lung cancer, adenocarcinoma. The NTNU researchers are examining the possibility of developing a blood test that can detect this and other types of lung cancer.

Compared to male smokers, women who smoke are more disposed to lung cancer. Since coughing is the main symptom, the disease is particularly difficult to discover in smokers.

"We're examining whether lung cancer may affect gene expression in white blood cells," continues Professor Skorpen. "A tumour secretes various signalling compounds, which are transported in the blood. Perhaps some of these transmitters alter the gene expression in the white blood cells."

If the researchers can find a gene expression signature in white blood cells that is specific to lung cancer, they may detect a patient's lung cancer at an earlier stage. This would parallel other cancers, such as breast cancer, in which the expression of multiple genes in blood cells is altered. Identifying these changes can provide an early indication of the disease.

Samples from Biobank Norway

To find out whether gene expression signatures can be identified in blood, the researchers have been using blood samples stored at the Central Norway lung cancer biobank from lung cancer patients, and from healthy control samples from Nord-Trψndelag's HUNT biobank.

The researchers isolated total RNA from the blood of 100 lung cancer patients and compared it to samples from 100 cancer-free individuals. The results are still being analysed.

"If we are able to find blood markers that indicate lung cancer, we will need to repeat the study on larger groups of patients and healthy control subjects," explains Professor Skorpen. "These analyses are painstaking and complicated, and it is necessary to replicate the findings with a larger material sample. This will eventually be possible as the lung cancer biobank expands."

The project receives funding under the National Programme for Research in Functional Genomics in Norway (FUGE), one of the Research Council's seven Large-scale Programmes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Research Council of Norway. The original article was written by Berit Ellingsen/Else Lie. Translation: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Research Council of Norway. "A blood test for lung cancer?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311131941.htm>.
The Research Council of Norway. (2011, March 12). A blood test for lung cancer?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311131941.htm
The Research Council of Norway. "A blood test for lung cancer?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311131941.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins