Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lung Cancer Can Stay Hidden for Over 20 Years

News Brief by Frederick Lu

Every year, over 40,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer and less than 10 percent of patients will live more than 5 years after the initial diagnosis. One reason why survival rates are so low is that two thirds of patients will be diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, which decreases the odds of successful treatment. Now, scientists in the UK may have made a major breakthrough in the development of lung cancer. By studying seven patients, they found that after the initial cancer causing mutations, the tumor will remain dormant for years until additional mutations cause it to become more invasive. This means that treatments that target specific genetic errors fail because it will only affect a limited portion of the tumor. The remaining parts, caused by different mutations, are still free to continue growing.

The researchers, led by Professor Charles Swanton of Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute and the UCL Cancer Institute, hope that the results of their study will help early detection of the disease and hope that this new understanding of cancer development will allow them to predict how a tumor grows.

Cancer Research UK. "Lung cancer can stay hidden for over 20 years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2014. .
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