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CT Technique Detects Gene Mutation In Lung Tumor

July 10, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Chest Radiology, Diagnostic Imaging
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A CT technique can accurately analyze lung tumors and guide treatment without the necessity for a biopsy or other invasive procedures, according to research chronicled in an article published last week by the online journal PLOS ONE.

In a study involving tissue samples from 48 patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), quantitative CT-based texture analysis (QTA) determined with 89.6 percent accuracy whether tumors contained the cancer-causing KRAS gene mutation. Knowing whether the mutation is present is crucial in determining treatment. Glen J. Weiss, MD, lead author of the article, described the implications thus:

The ability to rapidly and noninvasively characterize NSCLC tumors would be a great asset to clinical oncologists. QTA applied to molecularly defined NSCLC cases may have a broader application to precision medicine by offering a noninvasive way of identifying the best therapies for each patient.

Dr. Weiss is a translational physician scientist with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Goodyear, Arizona, and director of clinical research at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. He was quoted in a TGen news release.

Lung cancer is the world’s leading cause of cancer-related mortality. It annually kills an estimated 1.4 million people—159,000 of them in the United States. Approximately 85 percent of cases are NSCLC. Genetic factors are increasingly being recognized as key to cancer development—and treatment. For example, Dr. Weiss told DOTmed News, if physicians know that a tumor has the KRAS mutation, they won’t try epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor therapy, which is unlikely to work on tumors with the mutation.

“If validated in other independent sample sets,” Dr. Weiss said, “this could be a useful clinical tool for noninvasive tumor characterization of KRAS in NSCLC. Ideally, that could be evaluated shortly after a patient’s CT scan and have a faster turnaround time than laboratory molecular testing.”

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