Researchers in Japan report they may have discovered a protein that could help in the early detection of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the second commonest form of cancer and the top cancer killer in both males and females.
This cancer is commonly detected in its advanced stage (when it may have spread to other parts of the lung/body), which consequently is associated with a poor prognosis. However with an early detection, treatments can be initiated early enough to prevent its spread. Therefore this discovery is of great importance to health professionals and people at risk of lung cancers (such as the smokers).
‘’The identification of patients at an early stage of when it can be treated surgically is extremely important to improve prognosis,” said Yuichi Sato from Kitasato University. ‘’We need biomarkers for early diagnosis,” said Sato.
The study published in the American Journal of Pathology, found that high levels of the biomarker cytoskeleton associated protein 4 (CKAP4) have been identified in the blood of people with lung cancer. The researchers used monoclonal antibodies which act by recognizing certain cell proteins. For this study, the researchers used an antibody called KU-Lu-1 to see whether or not it could recognize cancer proteins in the blood of 271 people with lung cancer and 100 healthy people. The antibody detected CKAP4 protein in lung cancer tissue.
Current biomarkers for lung cancer include carcinoma embryonic antigen (CEA), sialyl Lewis X antigen (SLX), squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) and cytokeratin fragment (CYFRA) 21-1, but none of these are sensitive enough to detect lung cancer in its early stages, says Ryo Nagashio from the Kitasato University School of Allied Health Sciences.
‘’The results of our study provide evidence that the CKAP4 protein may be a novel sero-diagnostic marker for lung cancer,” Nagashio concludes.