Research into diagnosing and staging lung cancer | Cancer Research UK
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Research into diagnosing and staging lung cancer

Research is looking at tests to try and improve the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer. Staging means how large the cancer is and whether it has spread. On this page you can find information about

 

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Research into diagnosis and staging

There is research looking at tests to try and improve the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer. Staging means how large the cancer is and whether it has spread. It is important for doctors to know the stage of the cancer because the stage affects which treatment is appropriate.

Doctors are looking at various new types of test to see if they can diagnose lung cancer more quickly and stage it more accurately. The tests include


Cancer Research UK supports a lot of this research. You can find lung cancer trials on our clinical trials database.

 

CR PDF Icon View a summary of treating lung cancer.

 

 

Research into diagnosis and staging

There is research looking at tests to try and improve the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer. Staging means how large the cancer is and whether it has spread. We have detailed information about lung cancer staging.

It is important for doctors to know the stage of the cancer because it affects which treatment is appropriate.

 

DNA tests

A lung cancer tumour can shed tiny pieces of DNA into the blood. This is called circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA). A study in London is looking at a blood test to see if researchers can find ctDNA in early stage non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The researchers also want to find out about any changes to ctDNA after surgery for early NSCLC, and to see whether ctDNA can help identify people who are at high risk of the cancer coming back.

 

Protein tests

A study called the CLUB trial extension is looking for proteins in blood, urine and tissue samples. The researchers want to see if any of the proteins are linked to lung cancer. Researchers hope to one day develop a blood or urine test to show up these proteins (biomarkers) and help diagnose lung cancer more easily. The biomarkers may also help to spot lung cancer earlier if it comes back after treatment.

 

Looking inside the airways

It is common to have a test called a bronchoscopy when trying to diagnose lung cancer. A bronchoscopy uses a tube to look into the airways of the lung. Researchers hope that newer tests may help doctors to diagnose and stage lung cancer quicker than standard tests.

The Lung-BOOST trial looked at endobronchial ultrasound to diagnose lung cancer and see if had spread (the stage). The trial team found that it was a useful test and halved the time it took between testing and a treatment decision compared with the usual tests to diagnose lung cancer such as bronchoscopy.

 

Scans

Some trials are looking at newer types of scans. They are checking to see if they can give better information about the size of lung cancers and whether the cancer has spread.

The SPUTNIK study is looking at PET scans and a type of CT scan called a dynamic CT scan. A dynamic CT scan shows up the blood vessels and blood flow better than a normal CT scan. The researchers want to see which type of scan is better at diagnosing early stage lung cancer.

The Streamline L study is looking to see if a whole body MRI scan may be able to replace a range of tests for diagnosing non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

 

More about lung cancer clinical trials

You can find lung cancer trials on our clinical trials database. If you want to see all the trials, tick the boxes for closed trials and trial results. There is also information explaining the clinical trials process, including taking part in trials.

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Updated: 10 November 2014