OSU researchers recently published data that is expected to yield a new test based on blood-borne miRNAs for lung cancer progression and prognosis.
In a study published earlier this spring in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ohio State University’s Carlo Croce and colleagues investigated miRNA expression profiles in tissue and plasma samples from a completed spiral-computed tomography screening trial, identifying a set of signatures in blood that could predict cancer much earlier than CT alone and distinguish more aggressive forms of the disease.
In the study, the team aimed to determine whether a difference could be seen between a patient with cancer and a patient without cancer, looking not at the tumor tissue but looking at the plasma,” Croce told Gene Silencing News this week. “What we found in the paper is that we can see differences in miRNA expression in plasma in patients with cancer versus patients without cancer.”
Using the markers, “we could detect a malignant lung cancer before it was detectable by any other means, which is very important, because if you can detect cancer by non-invasive methods before the cancer is seen, you have tremendous opportunity to cure it,” he said.
MicroRNAs have been widely studied as diagnostic biomarkers for lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases. And while currently commercialized miRNA tests use tissue samples, the relative ease and safety of blood testing has spurred companies such as Rosetta Genomics and Asuragen to develop blood-based miRNA diagnostics.
“Cancer tissue you can retrieve… only by biopsy or by cutting it off, so it’s very invasive,” Croce said. “With plasma, you have to just draw blood.” Read more…