Researchers from Duke University have created the first generation of a blood test that can detect lung cancer.
The researchers identified four proteins that were linked to lung cancer. They then compared blood samples from 100 patients known to have the disease to 100 people without it.
By measuring the levels of the proteins in the blood, they were able to identify which patients had lung cancer with 80 percent accuracy.
However, the lead researcher says this test isn't for everyone yet. They will start testing in patients who have an abnormal spot detected on a CT scan to determine if they have a high or low risk for lung cancer.
Professor of Radiology at Duke University, Dr. Edward Patz, Jr. says, "If you are at high risk then we won't perform additional CT studies; we may go on to just performing a biopsy at that time or a PET scan. If you are at low risk we can delay performing those multiple CT scans."
Researchers say over 70 percent of participants in a CT scan trial had an abnormality detected in their lungs, however only 3 percent had cancer. They hope this test will reduce the number of repeat tests.
The test requires a tablespoon of blood. The researchers plan to do studies to look to see how well this will do as a first test before any CT scans are done.