Researchers at the University of Maryland are evaluating the value of a person's spit to screen for lung cancer, replacing the traditional and recently recommended CT scan.
Now, an experimental test may help determine whether lung nodules detected by those scans are malignant or not, researchers say.
Medicare indicated recently that it might soon cover CT scans to check longtime smokers for early lung cancer, and these types of scans are becoming more common.
Clinical Cancer Research
The test, which checks sputum (respiratory mucus) for chemical signals of lung cancer, was able to distinguish early stage lung cancer from noncancerous nodules most of the time, according to findings published Jan. 15 in the journal .
"We are facing a tremendous rise in the number of lung nodules identified because of the increasing implementation of the low-dose CT lung cancer screening program," Dr. Feng Jiang, associate professor, department of pathology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, explained in a journal news release.
"However, this screening approach has been shown to have a high false-positive rate," he added. "Therefore, a major challenge is the lack of noninvasive and accurate approaches for preoperative diagnosis of malignant nodules."
Link to the original report: http://1.usa.gov/1IYc8Hn