News | January 12, 2015

Lung Cancer “Sentinel” Cells Lead to Early Cancer Detection

Blood test allows cancer detection 1-4 years before being caught by CT scans

Lung cancer, sentinel cells, early detection, Inserm, Paul Hofman

January 12, 2015 — In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers from Inserm led by Paul Hofman has just made a significant advance in the area of early diagnosis of invasive cancers. The team shows that it is possible to detect early signs of lung cancer in at-risk patients in the form of circulating cancer cells several months, and in some cases several years, before the cancer becomes detectable by computed tomography (CT) scanning. This warning could play a key role in early surgical intervention, thereby making it possible to attempt the early eradication of the primary cancer site.

Studies carried out in animals have clearly shown that invasive tumors shed cancer cells into the bloodstream from the very earliest stages of their formation, even before the tumors are detectable by diagnostic imaging. The possibility of identifying these "sentinel" cells is considered a major asset in the race against time for the early detection and treatment of cancer. Circulating cancer cells are extremely rare in the bloodstream, are very heterogeneous and fragile and are difficult to isolate without bias or loss.

Hofman’s team used a blood test developed during French research, which isolates all types of tumor cells from the bloodstream without any loss, leaving them intact. The team studied a group of 245 people without cancer, including 168 patients at risk of later developing lung cancer because they had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Participants systematically underwent the blood test and standard diagnostic imaging tests. Using the blood test, circulating cancer cells were identified in five patients (3 percent), whereas imaging did not show any nodules in the lungs.

In these five patients, a nodule became detectable 1-4 years after detection of circulating cancer cells by the blood test. They immediately underwent surgery, and analysis of the nodule confirmed the diagnosis of lung cancer. Monitoring of the patients for a minimum of one year after surgery showed no sign of recurrence in the five patients, leading one to hope that the cancer had been eradicated. At the same time, no nodules were detected during monitoring of subjects who did not have circulating cancer cells, and no cancer cells were detected in the bloodstream of "control" subjects without COPD.

For more information: www.plosone.org

Related Content

Transpara Deep Learning Software Matches Experienced Radiologists in Mammogram Reading
News | Computer-Aided Detection Software | January 12, 2018
Deep learning and artificial intelligence improves the efficiency and accuracy of reading mammograms, according to...
Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain
News | Mobile Devices | January 11, 2018
Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet,...
Fat Distribution in Women and Men Provides Clues to Heart Attack Risk
News | Women's Health | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – It’s not the amount of fat in your body but where it is stored that may increase your risk for hea
Emergency Radiologists See Inner Toll of Opioid Use Disorders

Rates of Imaging Positivity for IV-SUDs Complications. Image courtesy of Efren J. Flores, M.D.

News | Clinical Study | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – Emergency radiologists are seeing a high prevalence of patients with complications related to opio
Minimally Invasive Treatment Provides Relief from Back Pain

Lumbar spine MRI showing disc herniation and nerve root at baseline and one month after treatment

News | Interventional Radiology | January 11, 2018
The majority of patients were pain free after receiving a new image-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment for low back...
Study Finds No Evidence that Gadolinium Causes Neurologic Harm

MR images through, A, C, E, basal ganglia and, B, D, F, posterior fossa at level of dentate nucleus. Images are shown for, A, B, control group patient 4, and the, C, D, first and, E, F, last examinations performed in contrast group patient 13. Regions of interest used in quantification of signal intensity are shown as dashed lines for globus pallidus (green), thalamus (blue), dentate nucleus (yellow), and pons (red).

News | Contrast Media | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — There is no evidence that accumulation in the brain of the element gadolinium speeds cognitive dec
CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

3-D rendering from a cardiac CT dataset demonstrating mild dilation of the ascending aorta.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 11, 2018
Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at...

Size comparison between 3-D printed prosthesis implant and a penny.

News | 3-D Printing | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — Researchers using...
RSNA 2017 technical exhibits, expo floor, showing new radiology technology advances.
Feature | RSNA 2017 | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — Here is a list of some of the key clinical study presentations, articles on trends and videos from
Hip Steroid Injections Associated with Bone Changes

58-year-old woman with left hip pain. X-ray from one month prior to the steroid/anesthetic injection demonstrates moderate joint space narrowing (arrows) and bony proliferation (arrowheads).

News | Orthopedic Imaging | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – Osteoarthritis patients who received a steroid injection in the hip had a significantly greater in
Overlay Init