A More Effective Technique for Lung Cancer Screening

Protein AKAP4 identified as the most accurate way to detect non-small cell lung cancer.

Protein AKAP4 identified as the most accurate way to detect non-small cell lung cancer.

A research team at Valley Hospital has created a more efficient screening process for lung cancer.

Two oncologists, A.P. Ganepola, MD, FACS, Robert Korst, MD, FACS, FCCP of Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ, and a researcher, David Chang, PhD, have identified the protein AKAP4 as the most accurate way to detect non-small cell lung cancer in low-dose CT scans.

This research is based on findings from a pancreatic cancer study done years ago by Ganepola at Valley Hospital. The team collaborated with Wistar Institute to expand on the existing findings.

Lung cancer is currently the number one cancer killer in the United States, and the most common cancer in men worldwide. Most patients die from lung cancer due to lack of early detection.

"Cancer is a dreadful disease which kills more than half of patients," said Dr. Ganepola. "The other half survives for only one reason -- if the disease is detected early enough to be eradicated completely. This is only possible if you have a test that can detect cancer non-invasively early enough so patients can benefit from early, rather than late-stage treatment. If the tumors are detected early enough, the survival rate can dramatically improve from less than 5% to over 55% in lung and pancreatic cancers."

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that people 55-80 years old who smoke or have a history of lung cancer in their families should be screened annually. Valley Hospital and the research team at Wistar are planning a study with 800 blood samples to further validate their findings.

The findings were published online by the journal Oncotarget.