Addressing False Positivity in Lung Cancer Screening

One out of four individuals at high risk of lung cancer who receive a low-dose CT scan as part of the lung cancer screening process will have a spot on their lung. Of those patients, 96.3 percent will be found to not have cancer.

In many cases, the only way to confirm whether a spot is cancerous is an invasive procedure that can be expensive and stressful while possibly causing medical complications.

To address cases of false positivity in lung cancer screenings, a Pelotonia-funded team of experts at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) is researching non-invasive, blood-based biomarkers that will help clinicians examine these lung spots and predict who is more likely to have cancer, reducing the number of unnecessary biopsies.

Researchers have been working on a blood-based biomarker test for lung cancer since 2013 to help guide clinical decisions in this gray area. The test uses a tiny nanochip preloaded with circulating markers associated with lung cancer. When a patient’s blood is placed on this slide, researchers can examine it and look for these biomarkers.

Initial testing has shown that over 90 percent of patients with suspicious lesions can be ruled out for cancer based on the blood markers, leaving less than 10 percent to be referred for biopsies.

Researchers are testing this technology in a larger number of samples from patients with suspicious lung nodules and preparing an Internal Review Board (IRB) protocol to begin applying the test to patients undergoing CT screening for lung cancer at the OSUCCC – James. If proven effective, this could greatly increase the accuracy and timing of lung cancer diagnosis without invasive measures.

Think you’re at high risk for lung cancer? For more information or to schedule a lung cancer screening, call The James Line at 800-293-5066. To receive future updates about research being conducted at the OSUCCC – James, subscribe to the blog.