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New diagnostic technologies offer non-invasive means

LOS ANGELES -- Molecular messages and signals circulating in blood or contained in cells lining the airway can identify early stage cancer, according to research reported today at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Scientists looking to apply basic science knowledge to medical practice are developing tests that diagnose, predict or monitor cancer risks, without invasive tissue sampling. Such tests could benefit all, particularly underserved populations, such as the poor, who often wait until symptoms appear before seeing a doctor.

Lung carcinogenesis tracked by DNA methylation mapping from exhaled breath of ambulatory subjects: Abstract 827

A series of quietly exhaled breaths might indicate whether or not a patient is at risk for lung cancer, according to researchers from the New York State Department of Health. Using DNA recovered from exhaled breath, researchers can examine the state of cells that line the lungs, and potentially detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment may be most successful.

"Early detection of lung cancer is vital, yet there is no current non-invasive means of identifying cancer in a clinical setting," said Simon Spivack, M.D., M.P.H, research physician in the Human Toxicology & Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory at the New York State Department of Healths Wadsworth Center. "We have found that exhaled breath contains DNA, we believe from the cells lining the lungs, which may then tell us whether that person is at risk for cancer."

Condensed exhaled breath has been used previously to detect small volatile molecules that could indicate both non-malignant and malignant, lung diseases. Dr. Spivack and his colleagues have shown, in a pilot study, that the large molecule DNA could also be recovered albeit in trace amounts in exhaled breath condensate.

In particular, the researchers looked to see if the DNA they captured had been methylated, that
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Contact: Staci Vernick Goldberg
goldberg@aacr.org
267-646-0616
American Association for Cancer Research
15-Apr-2007


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